Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) issued a harsh rebuke of the GOP-led effort on Wednesday during his opening statements at the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s hearing on legislation to repeal and replace the ACA.
Kennedy singled out a comment House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made a day earlier, in which he called the GOP’s repeal effort “an act of mercy.”
“There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury … This is not an act of mercy; this is an act of malice,” Kennedy said Wednesday.
Kennedy, who, like Ryan, comes from a strong Catholic background, quipped that he and the speaker “must have read different Scripture.”
“Mercy,” Kennedy said, “defined in purely secular terms: compassionate treatment for those in distress.”
The GOP bill, known as the American Health Care Act, is being criticized by Democrats, some Republicans, health care industry groups and the AARP seniors group. Top points of contention include proposals to roll back the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and to raise premiums for older people while simultaneously granting generous tax cuts to the wealthy.