Budget Office says 23 million would lose health care, Democratic candidates respond

Protesters march to the corner of Centre Pointe Parkway and Golden Valley Road on Monday, May 8, 2017 to voice their concerns over Congressman Steve Knight's vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Almost three weeks after the controversial American Health Care Act passed in the House of Representatives, an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showed 23 million fewer Americans would have health insurance in 2026 under the bill.

The legislation was passed on May 4 along party lines, with most Republicans touting the bill’s superiority to the Affordable Care Act, among them 25th district Representative Steve Knight (R-Palmdale).

Of the three Democrats who have announced their candidacy against Knight for the 2018 race, they all expressed strong opposition to the AHCA, particularly in light of the CBO’s announcement Wednesday.

Knight’s office did not respond to The Signal’s request for comment on the budget office’s report.

“We have to do better than we are right now under the Affordable Care Act, not worse,” democratic candidate for the 25th district Katie Hill told The Signal Wednesday.

“Steve Knight’s vote shows that he cares more about pleasing his wealthy donors who will get massive tax cuts under the AHCA and following the party line than he does about the people in this district who will be hurt by this terrible legislation.”

According to Hill, who serves as the Deputy CEO of homelessness nonprofit PATH, 23 million people losing their health care is “just not okay.”

“Our values as a country and as a community demand that we figure out a way to ensure that no one ever has to choose between getting the care that they or their family needs and putting a roof over their heads or food on the table,” Hill said.

Volcanologist and Democratic candidate Jess Phoenix expressed similar concerns, stating to The Signal that millions losing their health care was “unacceptable.”

“We deserve better than this, and the Congressional Budget Office has given us a clear warning about the dangers of this bill,” Phoenix said. “I believe strongly that affordable health care for all must be a top priority for our elected officials.”

Referencing her own plans if she were elected, Phoenix said she would work to fix America’s health care system and provide all Americans with affordable care.

“With all of the recent advances in lifesaving medical technology and treatment, we need to provide citizens with more opportunities to stay healthy and live happy, full lives,” she said.

“Millions of Californians, and tens of thousands of people in our community, will lose coverage under the Trump/Knight plan, which benefits only the healthy and wealthy while harming the sick and poor.”

Bryan Caforio, the Democrat who ran against Knight in the last election, was concerned about the result of the legislation for those in the district.

“The report released today is yet another reminder that Trumpcare, which Steve Knight voted for, will take away insurance from tens of millions of people, including children and more than 46,000 people right here in our district,” Caforio said.

“Premiums for older people and middle-class Americans will skyrocket, and hundreds of thousands of people in our community who have pre-existing conditions will no longer be able to afford health insurance.”

Knight’s office did not respond to The Signal’s request for comment.

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