WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), leader of the Senate Democrats’ #ACAworks campaign and member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate HELP Committee, released the following statement after today’s hearing titled “Examining Job-Based Health Insurance and Defining Full-Time Work”. Murphy and Murray strongly condemn recent efforts by House Republicans that would hurt millions of Americans by reducing their hours and cutting their health insurance.
Earlier this month, the House passed legislation that would allow employers to cut workers’ hours to just below 40 hours per week to avoid providing them with health insurance. Meanwhile, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has debunked Republican claims about the bill, stating it could put millions of employees at risk of losing work hours, raise the deficit by more than $53 billion and result in more uninsured Americans—at a critical time when the uninsured rate is dropping.
“This bill actually creates the problem it pretends to solve,” Senator Murphy said. “If passed into law, this plan would make it harder for workers to gain health coverage through their jobs, increase the deficit by $50 billion and cause half-a-million Americans to go uninsured. In the audience at today’s hearing were Janice Stauffer and Irene Jadge, two dedicated nurses who work in Danbury, Connecticut and work three 12-hour ICU shifts each week. If this bill passed, more than a million Americans with demanding schedules like Janice and Irene would be in jeopardy of losing access to the health care they count on and have earned.”
Senator Murphy continued, “The fact is, the Affordable Care Act is working. The rate of uninsured is coming down, skyrocketing costs have finally slowed, and the American people – not insurance companies – are running the show when it comes to their health care. The law isn’t perfect, and we’ll need to make changes, but this proposed rule change that prevents millions from keeping coverage isn’t the way to start. I’ll continue to stand up to those who seek to roll back patient protections and return to the old system.”
Senator Murray said, “This Republican proposal puts big corporations and their profits ahead of working families and their health care, and if it ever becomes law, workers across the country will have to worry about their health care being cut off, their hours being rolled back, and their jobs being eliminated for part-timers. We should be rewarding hard work--not punishing it. I’m willing to work with anyone, on either side of the aisle, who has good ideas about how to make health care more affordable and accessible for families. But unfortunately, this bill would do the exact opposite.”