Local lawmakers weigh in on GOP healthcare bill

The American Health Care Act passed in the House 217-213

Oregon's lone GOP US representative, Greg Walden, speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House after the House voted to repeal-and-replace Obamacare, May 4, 2017 (CBSN)
Oregon's lone GOP US representative, Greg Walden, speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House after the House voted to repeal-and-replace Obamacare, May 4, 2017 (CBSN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Many local lawmakers are expressing their disappointment after the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act 217-213 Thursday.

All eight of Washington’s representatives, 2 Republicans and 6 Democrats, voted against the bill. Oregon 4 Democrat representatives voted no, while Republican Greg Walden who chairs the committee that wrote the bill, voted yes.

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici:

And the bill passed today chips away at the essential health benefits guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act, which means that consumers could no longer be assured that their health insurance will cover services like mental health care, emergency room services, and maternity care. Without coverage, or with inadequate coverage, working families would be a cancer diagnosis or a heart attack away from overwhelming bills and possible economic ruin.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer:

Today’s vote is a disgrace. There will be real-life, devastating consequences for working families, people with disabilities and pre-existing conditions, women and children, and seniors. Republicans should be ashamed. America will hold them accountable.”

Congressman Kurt Schrader:

I’m at a loss for words, frankly. This is a bad piece of legislation that is going to strip healthcare from millions of people, dramatically hike up premiums for everyone, and cost taxpayers everywhere more money. Not to mention it cuts one of the most important pieces of Obamacare: protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

Congressman Peter DeFazio:

The first version of the Republican healthcare bill would have stripped coverage from 24 million people and cost Americans over age 50 five times more than younger individuals for health insurance. Apparently, that wasn’t bad enough. The latest version of the American Health Care Act goes even further, gutting protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions and increasing costs for our nation’s most vulnerable. This new bill will allow insurers to implement healthcare plans that would not cover hospital visits, doctor visits, prescription drugs, maternity care, or mental health and addiction treatment—while still handing a huge tax break to Americans who earn more than $250,000 a year.

My Republican colleagues are hailing this legislation as a victory for choice for the consumer. The only choices that this bill gives Americans who need coverage the most are between poverty, bankruptcy, or death.”

Senator Ron Wyden:

This bill is a staggering reversal of Republican health care promises that has been rammed through the House by buying off members and brazenly misleading the public. Bottom line, the House has voted to turn back the clock to the days when health care was reserved for the healthy and wealthy. If my Senate Republican colleagues don’t declare this dangerous, partisan effort dead on arrival, I will fight at every turn to protect people from the harm it will cause.”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown:

Today’s vote on the AHCA was nothing more than political gamesmanship that created fear and uncertainty across America. Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians in all walks of life are threatened with the possibility of losing the health care coverage that they and their jobs depend on. I urge Congress to not turn their backs on struggling working families and our rural communities, and put a stop to this irresponsible, shortsighted legislation.

“I will continue to fight to make sure the critical protections from the ACA remain intact and that health care in Oregon is comprehensive, patient-centered, cost-effective and available to all of our communities.”

Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler:

I remain steadfast in my commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare with health care solutions that better serve all residents of Southwest Washington. Despite working with House leadership, the President and Vice President up until the last minute to improve it, I still didn’t feel that the American Health Care Act does enough to make health care affordable and accessible for all. And while I appreciate House leadership’s willingness to meet me halfway on my amendment to ensure vulnerable children aren’t left behind, the final bill still fell short.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee:

Today is a shameful day in American history. Republicans in Congress have voted to strip health care coverage from over 700,000 Washingtonians, and to remove the guarantee that all Americans cannot be denied coverage or charged more because they have a pre-existing condition. Their actions today threaten the health and financial security of millions of American families and undermine our health insurance markets, resulting in likely premium spikes. We have made great progress in Washington state’s health care system through bipartisan work and support, yet Congress is now threatening to throw it all away in favor of poorly-conceived partisan legislation.”

Washington Senator Patty Murray:

I’m appalled by the action taken today in the House to jam Trumpcare through, regardless of the extraordinary harm it would do to patients and families. House Republicans just voted for an even worse version of the same Trumpcare bill that people across the country rejected only weeks ago. They voted to raise premiums and undo protections for people with pre-existing conditions, take coverage away from tens of millions of people, end Medicaid as we know it, cut off access to critical health care services at Planned Parenthood, and  more—all while giving insurance companies and the very wealthy massive tax breaks. They may think they delivered a political win for President Trump today, but let’s be clear: Trumpcare is headed straight to a dead-end here in the Senate, because women and families nationwide are going to fight back harder than ever against this disastrous bill and Democrats are going to be standing with them every step of the way.”

Now that the AHCA has passed the House, it will go on to the Senate. Political analyst Jim Moore said that it will be more difficult for the bill to pass in the Senate.

“Going through the Senate is going to be much tougher. Remember because of their rules it takes 60 votes to pass something,” Moore said. “President Trump in the past few days has said they need to get rid of that particular rule. The Senate, both Democrats and Republicans have said ‘no, we’re going to keep that rule.’ But whatever happens, it will probably have to undergo a lot of changes.”