Rep. Cardenas: Repealing Obamacare Like Going Back to When We ‘Lived in Caves’

Craig Millward | January 16, 2017 | 3:59pm EST
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Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.)  (AP) 

( -- At a Congressional Hispanic Caucus news conference in opposition to repealing the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) on Capitol Hill last week, Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) said repealing the ACA without a replacement would be going “backwards…to a time where we might as well [have] lived in caves.”

“And the Republicans have been harking for seven years, almost seven years that they need to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” said Cardenas on Jan. 11.  “But they're forgetting about the fact that it needs to be replaced.”

“We can either go backwards, ladies and gentlemen, to a time where we might as well [have] lived in caves without medicine,” he said. “Where a person with asthma couldn't get insurance. Where a family member if they fell ill and got cancer treatment, the family was destitute because they had bills of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

“And the Affordable Care Act protects every family in America,” said Cardenas. “The most that a family can be charged, even if they used a million dollars worth of healthcare coverage is $13,000 a year. They don't have to mortgage the home. They don't have to give up on their college education for their children. They are protected, with their health and financially. That's the Affordable Care Act.”

“Shame on the Republicans for wanting to get rid of it and go backwards as a nation,” said the congressman.

Cardenas was joined by several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, including Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.). 

Rep. Lujan Grisham said that by repealing Obamacare the Republicans are telling people healthcare is not a “right,” but rather a “privilege.” 

“And now we’re in an environment in this country where [Republicans] are going to tell my state, that we’re going to take 790,000 people off the insurance rolls, and off Medicaid, and ask them once again to fend for themselves,” said Grisham, “and remind them unequivocally in this debate, after more than 60 repeal votes, that healthcare is not a right -- that it’s a privilege. And they don’t deserve any of our efforts to protect that right.”

Rep. Castro said Republicans moving forward with repealing the Affordable Care Act without a “viable” replacement is “to play Russian Roulette with the lives of the American people.”

On Jan. 12, the Senate passed a fiscal year 2017 budget resolution, 51-48, with instructions to committees to write Affordable Care Act repeal legislation. The House voted on Jan. 13 to pass the same measure, 227-198. 

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