Herrera Beutler a ‘no’ on GOP health care bill

House GOP leaders delayed the vote set for Thursday

In this Sept. 24, 2010 file photo, Republican state Rep. Jaime Herrera looks on during a tour of a business in Vancouver, Wash. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
In this Sept. 24, 2010 file photo, Republican state Rep. Jaime Herrera looks on during a tour of a business in Vancouver, Wash. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler says she can’t support her fellow congressional Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

In a statement Thursday she said she still wants to get rid of the current health care law, but “we can do better than the current House replacement plan.” She said any replacement option should provide affordable, high-quality health care.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has slammed the GOP replacement plan, which officials say would cost the state $1.5 billion to keep coverage for about 600,000 residents who gained insurance through the Medicaid expansion that was a key part of Obama’s health care law.

Republicans in the nation’s capital on Thursday scrambled for votes for their legislation. Herrera Beutler was first elected to Congress in 2011. Her 3rd Congressional District includes Vancouver and a swath of southwest Washington.

In her statement, Herrera Beutler also said, “Protecting vulnerable children is a core purpose of the Medicaid program, and when the program fails to do so it fails entirely. I will not let those kids fall through the cracks..”

The Oregon Representatives

Oregon US Rep. Suzanne Bonamici told KOIN 6 News Thursday morning that if this Republican plan passes it would be a disaster.

US Rep. Suzanne Bonamici in Portland, September 5, 2016 (KOIN)
US Rep. Suzanne Bonamici in Portland, September 5, 2016 (KOIN)

“About 465,000 Oregonians will lose coverage between next year and 2023,” Bonamici said.

That estimate includes more than 200,000 people in the 4 congressional districts surrounding Portland over the next 3 years.

But Bonamici said this GOP plan would be especially bad for rural Oregon because a lot of health care jobs would become unsustainable.

“We’re not only taking away people’s health care, we’re also taking away people’s jobs. And that’s the wrong direction for Oregon and the wrong direction for the country,” Bonamici told KOIN 6 News.

Democrat Earl Blumenauer is also expected to vote No, but Republican Greg Walden — one of the architects of this GOP plan — will vote Yes.

The vote was scheduled for Thursday, but GOP leaders delayed it. The House has until Monday to vote on it. Republicans can still make changes to what they’re proposing to try to win over some of their unconvinced party members whose votes still hang in the balance.

The GOP needs 218 votes to pass this bill, which would then move on to the US Senate.

KOIN 6 News reporter Trevor Ault contributed to this report.