By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, March 16, 2017, US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) was one of three Republicans on the House Budget Committee to vote against the American Health Care Act.
Congressman Gary Palmer issued the following statement: “We have one opportunity to answer the healthcare crisis the American people are facing. In my opinion, the current bill does not answer this crisis. I voted against the American Health Care Act in the Budget Committee because the promises of changes in the future are insufficient. Now that the bill has been reported out of committee, I will continue to work for the changes that are necessary to ensure Medicaid is a viable and affordable program to provide healthcare to the people who need it most. In that regard, I believe block granting Medicaid to the states and requiring work for able-bodied working age adults are essential to achieving this objective. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make these and other improvements to this bill.”
Fellow House Freedom Caucus member Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has also expressed misgivings with Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to replace Obamacare. Brooks said on Saturday, “Today I joined Fox News and affirmed my commitment to deliver a clean repeal of ObamaCare to the American people. In my judgment, once ObamaCare is repealed, we need to inject competition into the marketplace, eliminate the antitrust laws which promote oligopolies and monopolies, and turn health care over to the states in the form of block grants.”
President Donald J. Trump (R) is urging Republicans to support the American Health Care Act and has suggested that he will work with the House Freedom Caucus, of which Palmer and Brooks are members, on making this a better bill. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has claimed that the bill is the best bill that can pass both Houses of Congress.
President Trump said recently, “Secretary Price and I, along with my entire administration, and a lot of people in the Senate and a lot of people in the House are committed to repealing and replacing this disastrous law with a healthcare plan that lowers cost, expands choice, and ensures access for everyone. You represent the millions of Americans who have seen their Obamacare premiums increase by double digits and even triple digits. In Arizona, the rates were over 116 percent last year — 116 percent increase. And the deductibles are so high you don’t even get to use it. Many Americans lost their plans and doctors altogether, and one-third of the counties — think of it, one-third only have one insurer left. The insurance companies are fleeing. They’re gone; so many gone. The House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare will provide you and your fellow citizens with more choices — far more choices at lower cost. Americans should pick the plan they want. Now they’ll be able to pick the plan they want, they’ll be able to pick the doctor they want. They’ll be able to do a lot of things that the other plan was supposed to give and it never gave. You don’t pick your doctor, you don’t pick your plan — you remember that one.”
Assuming there is nothing that President Trump can do to get Democratic members to support the Ryan plan on healthcare, the Republicans will need most of the Freedom Caucus to support the bill for it to get out of the US House of Representatives.
Then passing it in the hyper partisan Senate will still be a challenge. Some conservatives have suggested that a clean repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and let the whole system crash and burn would be a better alternative than Ryan’s plan which appears to prop up Obamacare for at least two years without instituting the market based reforms favored by many in the GOP.