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Cummings Issues Statement on Oversight Committee Field Hearing on ACA - Apache Junction, AZ

Dec 16, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C.—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement regarding the Committee’s field hearing on the Affordable Care Act in Apache Junction, Arizona:

“I welcome legitimate and responsible congressional oversight, but House Republicans have made clear that they have no interest in improving the Affordable Care Act.  Rather than engaging in a destructive political exercise with the ultimate goal of tearing down the law, promoting misinformation, and eliminating health insurance for tens of millions of people, the Committee should support constructive efforts to help educate and assist families who urgently need medical care and now have a chance to obtain it.  Democrats are committed to this positive goal and will continue participating in events nationwide to help millions of uninsured Americans get quality affordable coverage, some for the first time.”

This week, the Vice Mayor of Apache Junction wrote a letter to Chairman Issa expressing concern that today’s hearing could be perceived by the public as “a partisan political activity” because it was scheduled “without the prior knowledge or consent of the majority of the City Council,” because the Committee “solicited only negative comments,” and because “among those witnesses scheduled to testify, none are residents of Apache Junction.”

And the president of the League of Women Voters of Arizona alsowrote a letter to Chairman Issa expressing “grave concerns” because the hearing “seems to violate the basic principles of democracy and public participation.”

Today’s hearing is the Committee’s third field hearing on the Affordable Care Act.  As with previous field hearings in North Carolina and Georgia, the Committee invited only witnesses who oppose the Affordable Care Act and disregarded multiple requests to testify from witnesses who support the law.  

Despite Republican efforts to attack the Affordable Care Act, it is already helping hundreds of thousands of Arizona residents.  For example, nearly 950,000 state residents who are uninsured and now eligible for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.  

In addition, in 2014 insurers will no longer be able to discriminate against or deny coverage to nearly 2.8 million non-elderly Arizona residents with pre-existing conditions.

Arizona is also able to extend its Medicaid program as a result of the Affordable Care Act to up to 200,000 Arizona residents and reduce the state’s uninsured population by more than 30%, according to the Urban Institute.

Contrary to claims by Chairman Issa and others that Americans will face exorbitant prices for health insurance in the individual market, a report by Families USA finds that nearly three-quarters of Americans in the individual market are eligible for financial assistance under the Affordable Care Act. 

In addition, a report by the Council of Economic Advisors finds that, in part due to the Affordable Care Act, real per capita health care spending has grown at the lowest rate on record for any three-year period—an estimated average rate of just 1.3% per year since 2010 when the Affordable Care Act was enacted.

113th Congress