Pingree Disagrees with Republicans on Trumpcare – Good for the Healthy & Wealthy


Nicole Clegg, VP Policy at Planned Parenthood; Emily Brostek, Executive Director, Consumers for Affordable Health Care,; Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-01);  Ann Woloson, Policy Analyst for Maine Equal Justice Partners, and Dr. Gordon Smith, Executive VP of Maine Medical Association at Press Conference Yesterday.

Congresswoman Pingree with Dr. Gordon Smith at the Podium at the Waterfront Press Conference.

The Republicans are “desperate” to get back tax money for the wealthy Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-01) said at a press conference yesterday morning.  “This health care plan is a gift to the insurance companies and the wealthy,  Pre-existing costs will be required to come out at unaffordable rates,”

Pingree called the press conference following the narrow passage of the House Republicans on Trumpcare – a measure that some Senators have said they do not support.

“We have voted on this over sixty (60) times already.  But the Republicans had no choice but to deliver something to their supporters to start dismantling Obamacare,” Pingree said.  In an attempt at a “gottcha” question from the downsizing MaineMediaToday reporter, Pingree was asked to comment on Rep.Bruce Poliquin’s support for Trumpcare.  His northern district of Maine  (District 2) stands to suffer significantly from Trumpcare.  Smarter than the reporter, Pingree did not take the bait.   Rather, she suggested he ask  Poliquin about his vote.  “I disagree with Republicans on this,” she said.

Pingree went on to point out that the customary scoring prior to the vote by the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) had not occurred and there had been no public process on the legislation.  “Trumpcare will cut taxes over $1 trillion for Trump’s planned future tax cuts to benefit the wealthy,” Pingree added.   The lack of public process has brought screams and hollers of ‘foul play’ from Speaker Paul Ryan (R) in the past.

Nicole Clegg, VP of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood said that if enacted as proposed, Trumpcare would take away health coverage for 24 million people; it would eliminate protections that restrict insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions unaffordable rates and gut the Medicaid program.  “If this passes the Senate, people will die.  Women who are victims of sexual assault could be denied coverage.  Women could be charged more than men for insurance…….this bill is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation.”

“Thanks to the Affordable Care  Act, a/k/ Obamacare, our uninsured rate has fallen by 25% – including a 32% decline for working Mainers. Nearly 80,000 people have enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Nine out of 10 got help with the cost of their plan – an average drop of $342 each month in their premiums, “said Emily Brostek, of Consumers for Affordable Health Care, an Augusta based non-profit.  Rural areas of the state will  be badly hurt said Ann Woloson.  “There is a far higher percentage of medicaid covered people in rural areas. Physicians who are mostly employed by hospitals will be affected as well,” Woloson added.

Dr. Smith said that the losers in Trumpcare are the poor, sick, old and women.  “This would take patients in a huge step backwards.  Medicaid coverage for the opiod crises will be ended.  Pre-existing condition coverage costs should not be left to the insurance companies to determine he said.  Trumpcare is a better policy for the young, healthy and wealthy, he added.

The Congresswoman said that some of her colleagues may have been speaking in haste when they predicted that the passage of “Trumpcare”  by House Republicans would loose some elections in 2018.    “It’s premature for anyone to celebrate – Republican or Democrat.”