July 28, 2017

Statement by Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center,
on U.S. Senate Defeat of the “Health Care Freedom Act”

New York, NY—Today, the U.S. Senate once again defended the American people and rejected a bill that would have devastated American families, led to tens of millions of people losing coverage, and put the Medicaid program at risk. The “Health Care Freedom Act,” the so-called “skinny repeal” bill, was defeated 49-51, ending this partisan attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a reasonable substitute that would protect the coverage and care for all Americans.

From the beginning, the Senate has been working on these bills in secret. This week, confusion reigned as the public, and Senators themselves, were left in the dark about what bill would come to a vote. Despite attempts to disguise the final product, 51 Senators saw this bill for what it was—a cynical ploy to kick the can down the road again and pass responsibility back to the House.

Now that this bill has failed to pass, we again call upon all members of Congress to work together on health care. Only a transparent, bipartisan process and a return to regular order can provide the right environment for developing real reforms to the ACA that will enhance access and affordability for every American, not penalize older adults, people with disabilities, and their families.

For more information on the Medicare program and proposals under consideration to change it, visit the Medicare Rights Center’s “Protect and Strengthen” webpage at

Press Contact: Mitchell Clark –

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.

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