'I have never seen a worse bill': Local lawmakers react to House health care vote

PORTLAND, Ore. – Following House Republicans’ passage Thursday of a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many lawmakers from Oregon and Washington were quick to decry the bill, which next heads to the Senate.

Oregon Rep. Greg Walden voted for the bill. Oregon’s other four representatives, all of whom are Democrats, voted against it.

In Washington, Republican reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and David Reichert voted against the bill. Washington's other two Republican representatives voted for the repeal, and all six Democrats voted against it.

Background: In major victory for Republicans, House passes Obamacare repeal

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who represents Oregon’s 3rd district, called Thursday’s vote a disgrace.

“There will be real-life, devastating consequences for working families, people with disabilities and pre-existing conditions, women and children, and seniors,” said Blumenauer in a statement released after the vote. “Republicans should be ashamed. America will hold them accountable.”

Rep. Greg Walden, who voted for the bill, said in a statement that the measure would put “patients, families and their doctors first,” and protect people with pre-existing conditions.

“Simply put, the American people deserve better than what they received under Obamacare and the American Health Care Act delivers on our commitment to rebuild our health insurance markets and provide relief to the American people,” Walden said.

Watch: Walden speaks in support of the bill on the House floor

Walden, who represents Oregon’s 2nd congressional district, thanked House Speaker Paul Ryan in a tweet following the vote.

Congressman Kurt Schrader, who represents Oregon’s 5th district and also voted against the bill, said it would take healthcare away from millions of people, including more than 400,000 Oregonians.

“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,” Schrader said.

“Meanwhile, in Oregon, hundreds of thousands are going to lose their health care because this bill severely cuts low income folks’ access to coordinated care on Oregon Health Plan,” said Schrader. “The bottom line is this is a terrible bill that is going to do so much more harm than good for every Oregonian and every American. Today, political rhetoric trumped what’s best for the American people.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon’s 4th district also said the bill guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions and increases costs for our nation’s most vulnerable people.

“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,” DeFazio said.

Watch:

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, from Oregon’s 1st district, said the bill will force Oregonians to pay more for health care and get less in return.

“TrumpCare throws out the basic lesson from Schoolhouse Rock about how a bill becomes law. We just voted on a bill that was written behind closed doors, without getting input from medical experts and consumers, without a single hearing, and without knowing the price tag,” said Bonamici. “Republican leadership negotiated last minute changes to the bill designed to gain more support in Congress, and then forced an immediate vote without complete information. For this, more American people will suffer. This is not how to make good policy.”

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents Southwest Washington, voted against the bill, and was one of two Republican House members from Washington to do so. In a statement released after the vote, Herrera Beutler said she is committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare, but she didn’t believe the bill did enough to make health care more affordable and accessible for everyone.

“Southwest Washington residents also deserve a greater commitment to lowering health costs so that out-of-pocket expenses, premiums and taxes are taking up less of their monthly paychecks," she said. "Congress should more purposefully move ahead with free market reforms that increase competition between insurance providers and drive down premiums and deductibles.”

With the bill on its way to the Senate, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says he will fight to “protect people from the harm it will cause.”

“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,” Wyden said in a statement after the vote. “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,” said Wyden.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray of Washington also blasted House Republicans for passing the bill.

“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,” Murray said. “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.”

Murray says the bill is headed to a dead-end in the Senate.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) called the bill the worst he’s ever seen in his nearly 20-year career in public service.

“In my eight years in the Senate and nearly 20 years in public service, I have never seen a worse bill than this one,” said Merkley in a statement after the vote.

“The Republican TrumpCare 2.0 bill threatens Americans with huge increases in out-of-pocket costs. This bill destroys health care for millions of America’s struggling and working families. And for what? To pay for enormous tax cuts for the richest Americans,” said Merkley.

“Republicans rushed to pass this bill before the Congressional Budget Office could score it. That fact tells you everything you need to know about the merits of TrumpCare. There’s a reason it’s opposed by the AARP, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and dozens of other health care groups.”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown called the House vote “nothing more than political gamesmanship that created fear and uncertainty across America.”

Brown called House members irresponsible for passing a bill without an analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

“Today, 95 percent of Oregonians and 98 percent of children in Oregon have health care coverage. In its current form, the AHCA would roll back major provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), jeopardizing the health care of 350,000 Oregonians, increasing prices for elderly Oregonians, reducing federal funding for Medicaid enrollment, and risking the loss of more than 23,000 jobs that were created in Oregon after the implementation of the ACA,” Brown said.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee called Wednesday “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,” said Inslee.

© 2017 KGW-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment