U.S. House passes the American Health Care Act

05/04/2017 03:57 PM

The United States House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Thursday by the slimmest of margins.

The American Health Care Act passed the House 217-213, with 20 Republicans voting “no” alongside all 193 Democratic Representatives.

Four of Kentucky’s six U.S. Representatives voted in favor of the measure.

U.S. Rep James Comer, R-Tompkinsville, praised the passing of the AHCA as vital to Kentucky.

“Repealing Obamacare is critically important for Kentucky, where the individual market has collapsed, leaving only one insurance carrier in 31 of 35 counties in the First District, and where the unsustainable expanded Medicaid program now pays for more than thirty percent of the population,” Comer said in a statement. “It is clear that Obamacare has been a disaster for our health care system and Kentucky, and I was proud to stand with President Trump in supporting this bill today.”

U.S. Rep Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, also took aim at the ACA and indicated that the passage of the replacement legislation is just step one in a larger process.

“The American Health Care Act redirects the future of health care by repealing unaffordable taxes and eliminating the impossible mandates that set Obamacare on its destructive path,” Rogers said in a news release. “This bill is part of a multi-phase process, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to finalize a package that protects quality health care options while providing relief from Obamacare.”

U.S. Rep Andy Barr, R-Lexington, touted the passage of the ACHA as making good on a campaign promise.

“Since I first ran for Congress, I promised the people of the Sixth District that I would vote to repeal this broken law and replace it with reforms that will actually lower costs and expand access to care through patient-centered, market-based reforms,” Barr said in a statement. “The American Health Care Act accomplishes these goals and more.”

U.S. Rep Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, advocated for the legislation on the House floor this afternoon.

“In Kentucky there are many counties with just one health insurer on the exchange, that is not right,” Guthrie said to his colleagues. “Affordable health care means having real access to health care when you need it.”

House Freedom Caucus member U.S. Rep Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg, was one of 20 Republicans to vote against the bill.

“In weighing my vote, I heeded the wise advice that “one should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Massie said in a Facebook post on Thursday. “If this bill becomes law, it could result in worse outcomes, fewer options, and higher prices for Kentuckians who seek health care. In summary, I voted against this bill not because it’s imperfect, but because it’s not good.”

Kentucky’s only Democratic U.S. Representative, John Yarmuth, of Louisville, also voted against the legislation.

“Now that House Republicans have recklessly rushed this legislation through without any hearings or analysis, I trust that the American people will come to the same conclusion that our nation’s doctors, nurses, hospitals, patient advocates, and seniors groups have all reached: this bill weakens healthcare protections for most Americans and leaves families worse off,” Yarmuth said in a statement. “I hope people will continue to make their voices heard and communicate their discontent to their Senators as this irresponsible legislation moves forward.”

The AHCA will now go to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, praised the House’s passage of the bill.

“We are now closer to giving our constituents freedom from the increased costs, diminishing choices, and broken promises of Obamacare,” McConnell said. “I want to congratulate Speaker Ryan, his leadership team, the Republicans who supported this legislation, and President Trump and Vice President Pence for a job well done.”

Former Kentucky lieutenant governor and White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Jerry Abramson was in Louisville today, and when asked to weigh in on the House’s health care vote he told reporters he hopes someone reads the bill.

“I’m hopeful that the Senate will review,” Abramson said. “Someone’s got to read this bill, someone’s got to understand what it means financially, and the effect on people.”

Senate consideration of the bill is expected to be scheduled following the completion of budgetary score keeping reviews.


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