By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, May 4, 2017, the Republican majority in the US House of Representatives kept their promise to the American people and voted to repeal the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, commonly known as Obamacare. They are replacing it with the equally controversial American Health Care Act of 2017. Most of the Alabama Congressional Delegation voted to repeal and replace Obamacare.
US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) said in a statement, “Today the House of Representatives took the first step toward repealing and replacing the misnamed Affordable Care Act and restoring access to affordable healthcare for all Americans,” said Palmer. “The amendment that I authored on invisible risk sharing will drive down the cost of health insurance premiums and helps ensure that those with preexisting conditions have affordable coverage. The option for states to choose to receive Medicaid funding as a per-capita cap or a block grant will provide states with more flexibility to meet the needs of their Medicaid eligible people and will reduce the waste of billions of Medicaid dollars to fraud, inefficiencies and mismanagement. The AHCA also gives states the option to establish work requirements for able-bodied adults without small children. Together, these additions to the AHCA are the most substantial entitlement reform in 50 years. Although states, as they should be, are provided the option to seek waivers from certain federal mandates, states must certify that pursuing a waiver is for the purpose of expanding coverage or reducing the cost of healthcare. There is no underlying intention to exclude people from coverage, including those who have been previously sick, and it is important to note that this bill will not exclude people from coverage. There is a little known provision in the bill which defunds Planned Parenthood for one year and will protect this lives of the unborn. This bill is not the end of our efforts to dismantle Obamacare and repair the damage done to our healthcare system. It is the first major step forward.”
US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) said, “For seven years I have promised my constituents that I would repeal and replace Obamacare. A month ago I sat in the Oval Office and told the President of the United States that I was with him and that I would help get this Obamacare repeal bill through the House of Representatives. Today we were finally able to deliver on that promise in a meaningful way.”
US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said, “Today, I voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a health care plan that actually lowers costs and gets the federal government out of the way. Importantly, the bill continues to ensure protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It also cuts taxes, defunds Planned Parenthood, and fundamentally reforms Medicaid.”
Congresswoman Roby added, “Obamacare is crumbling as we speak. Premiums are skyrocketing, deductibles are through the roof, and people are being hurt because they can’t afford care. That’s why we are repealing this failed law and replacing it with a patient-centered system that lowers costs, increases choices, and isn’t run by the government.”
Roby’s office said that passing the American Health Care Act is the first of a three-step plan by Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration to repeal and replace Obamacare. According to Roby, upon enactment of AHCA, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price will begin using his authority to unravel the web of Obamacare rules and regulations. Congress will still have to take up stand alone legislation to further bring down costs through bipartisan proposals such as allowing insurance competition across state lines and health care portability.
Congressman Byrne said, “To be clear, I understand additional changes to the bill may be necessary as the bill moves over to the Senate, but today was a step in the right direction toward rescuing the American people from the failures of Obamacare.”
This is a huge legislative win for the Trump administration, which was bitterly disappointed when feuding between rival GOP factions in the House prevented an earlier version of this legislation from passing.
The American Health Care Act narrowly passed by a vote of 217 to 213.
It now moves to the Senate.