In a major victory for President Donald Trump, the House has voted to dismantle the pillars of the Affordable Care Act and make sweeping changes to the nation’s healthcare system.
Congressman John Katko (R-NY) voted ‘no’, and 22nd district Representative Claudia Tenney voted ‘yes.’
Regarding his ‘no’ vote, Katko tells NewsChannel 9: “There’s much more to be done to make this a palatable bill: competition, tort reform and association pools that can go across state lines. None of that’s in this bill and there’s no guarantee that any of those things that will help drive the cost down, of insurance, are going to be in any full repeal bills.”
The bill now heads to the Senate where it faces daunting challenges because of the same ideological splits between conservative and moderate Republicans that nearly killed it in the House.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner released the following statement:
“Today’s vote is a disappointing action. More than 75,000 people in the Syracuse area are reliant on the Affordable Care Act for their health coverage: these are our neighbors, our friends, and our family members who have struggled to make ends meet and pay for expensive healthcare costs. This bill lacks both reason and compassion, jeopardizing the access to care for millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions. By passing the AHCA without waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate its impacts on coverage or the federal budget, congressional Republicans have chosen political expediency over sound public policy. It is my hope that the U.S. Senate does not follow their lead does not take this destructive bill up for a vote.”
Thursday marks a political milestone — one that has painfully eluded Trump and House leaders for months. The controversial health care bill delivered Trump the biggest political defeat of his short presidency in March, when the legislation had to be yanked from the House floor because it simply didn’t have enough support.
What’s in the bill?
The GOP health care bill would eliminate Obamacare taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others, and get rid of the individual mandate imposed by Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act. Instead of the Obamacare subsidies that are tied to income and premiums, the GOP plan would provide Americans with refundable tax credits based mainly on age to purchase health insurance.
The legislation would also allow insurers to charge higher premiums to those in their 50s and early 60s, compared to younger consumers.
It would also significantly curtail federal support for Medicaid and allow states to require able-bodied adults to work. After 2020, states that expanded Medicaid would no longer receive enhanced federal funding to cover low-income adults, and those that hadn’t expanded would be immediately barred from doing so.
And it would allow states to relax some key Obamacare protections of those with pre-existing conditions, which are among the health reform law’s most popular provisions. States could apply for waivers to allow insurers to offer skimpier policies that don’t cover the 10 essential health benefits mandated by Obamacare. Also, insurers would be able to charge higher premiums to those with medical issues if they let their coverage lapse. States requesting waivers would have to set up programs — such as high-risk pools — to protect insurers from high-cost patients.
An eleventh-hour amendment that helped seal the missing GOP votes would add $8 billion over five years to fund high-risk pools and go toward patients with pre-existing conditions in states that seek waivers under the Republican legislation. The legislation already included $130 billion in the fund.
However, the GOP bill doesn’t touch one another beloved piece of Obamacare — letting children stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26.