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HealthBeat

Groups decry ACA repeal bill passage

House Republicans on Thursday narrowly passed a bill to repeal and replace several pieces of the Affordable Care Act.

Outrage soon followed, my email inbox filling with statements decrying the passage of the American Health Care Act.

I should note, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Vancouver, voted against the bill and sent out a statement of her own. Here’s an excerpt:

“I remain steadfast in my commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare with health care solutions that better serve all residents of Southwest Washington. … The difficulties this bill would create for millions of children still need to be addressed. For the last several weeks, I fought to include my amendment to strengthen the Medicaid safety net for the kids who depend on it for their health care. Protecting vulnerable children is a core purpose of the Medicaid program and when the program fails to do so, it fails entirely. I could not vote to let those kids fall through the cracks.”

And here are some of the other reactions I received:

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler:The vote by congressional House Republicans to approve a revised version of the American Health Care Act clearly shows how they favor politics over meaningful health care for all Americans. The bill takes a previously shoddy proposal and makes it worse. Most troubling is its removal of protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reliance on seriously underfunded high-risk pools. Washington’s own experience with a high-risk pool shows that 80 percent of those who really need such coverage cannot afford the high premiums.”

“House Republicans passed their bill so that they could declare a ‘win.’ The reality is that this legislation, if signed into law as is, would strip coverage and protections from millions of Americans. It would increase costs, put lives at risk and return us to the dark days before the Affordable Care Act.”

U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-WA: “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.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon Executive Director Mary Nolan: “This bill is a cruel attack on women’s health and an arrogant shield for granting tax breaks to billionaires. … This legislation ‘defunds’ Planned Parenthood, and blocks thousands of Oregonians from accessing birth control, cancer screenings and STI testing at Planned Parenthood health centers. That will make it harder for women in Oregon to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy and harder to raise a family. Under this destructive and deadly bill, a woman who has ever been pregnant could be charged an additional $17,000 a year for coverage, because of her ‘pre-existing condition.’”

American Medical Association President Dr. Andrew W. Gurman: “The bill passed by the House today will result in millions of Americans losing access to quality, affordable health insurance and those with pre-existing health conditions face the possibility of going back to the time when insurers could charge them premiums that made access to coverage out of the question.”

Executive Director of Families USA Frederick Isasi: “Is this who we are as a nation? Is this what President Trump meant by ‘making America great again?’ This bill gives a massive tax cut to the rich and corporations, while devastating Medicaid with the most significant cut in the history of the program. That means pulling the rug out from under some of our country’s most vulnerable people – like children and seniors in nursing homes. It will take private insurance away from millions of hard-working people and drive up premiums for millions more, making it unaffordable, unsustainable, and un-American.”

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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