The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
On President Donald Trump‘s 105th day in office, H.R. 1628: American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017, was narrowly approved 217-213. All Democrats, including Alabama’s own 7th District U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, and a group of mostly moderate Republican holdouts voted against the bill.
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. 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 that drive up patient costs. Finally, Congress will 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.
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration, where it expected to modified significantly.
Here’s what the Alabama delegation had to say about their votes:
Alabama 1st District U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne:
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.
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.
Alabama 2nd District U.S. Rep. Martha Roby:
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.
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.
Alabama 3rd District U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers:
No public comment at this time.
Alabama 4th District U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt:
Today I voted for, and the House passed, what the Republicans have promised to do for the past seven years: repeal and replace Obamacare. Contrary to claims in the media, doing nothing was not an option. Obamacare is failing us and premiums are getting worse, not better. Americans continue to see their healthcare options dwindle. Obamacare has also led to more expensive insurance that Americans cannot afford to use – higher premiums and higher deductibles. Today’s vote addresses these issues head-on.
This bill ensures that individuals with preexisting conditions will continue to have insurance coverage. There is also assistance for older, rural and poor seniors included in this bill. In addition, today’s vote repeals all of the Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood and instead redirects this money to the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). This amounts to 90% of the federal funds received by Planned Parenthood.
Alabama 5th District U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks:
While today’s health care legislation falls short of the full ObamaCare repeal that I called for and believe in, a partial repeal does more good for working American families than no repeal at all. I am proud that diligent House Freedom Caucus work has forced amendments that converted substantial increases in health insurance premiums into substantial cuts in health insurance costs for tens of millions of Americans. The AHCA repeals roughly twenty ObamaCare taxes that have hurt job creators and cut take-home pay. The AHCA repeals the ObamaCare individual and employer mandate penalties that undermine freedom of choice and liberty.
Alabama 6th District U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer:
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.
…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.
Alabama 7th District U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell:
The passage of today’s healthcare repeal bill was a tragic case of Republican leadership putting politics over people. The GOP rushed this bill through the House without pausing to get a full estimate of what it will cost or how many lives it will impact. That’s legislative malpractice.
I voted against TrumpCare because we know it will drive healthcare prices up for working families all while lowering the quality of coverage they receive. I opposed this bill because it will force older Americans to pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, while at the same time shortening the life of the Medicare Trust Fund that many seniors depend on. I voted no because TrumpCare will gut essential health benefits, and because my constituents deserve better. Today’s bill is a disaster for Alabama and a raw deal for the American people.