Republicans around the state, including U.S. Rep. Dan Webster are declaring “at last!” about the potential end of the Affordable Care Act after the House of Representatives narrowly voted Thursday to repeal and replace it.
And Democrats, notably those in Central Florida, are calling the Republicans’ answer to ObamaCare offensive and potentially disastrous.
The house passed the American Health Care Act pushed by President Donald Trump by a vote of 217-213, with virtually all Democrats voting no. That puts it in the hands of the U.S. Senate.
Here’s Republican Webster’s statement:
“Today, I voted to end the nightmare that has been the [un]Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to provide Americans with the care they need, at a price they can afford, from the doctor they choose. For six years, I have been an advocate for repealing the failed Obamacare and replacing it with real healthcare reform. ACA has is collapsing across the country – currently 4.7 million people are without an insurer. This failed policy is raising costs for patients and forcing insurers out of the marketplace, which leaves patients and families with nowhere to go.
“I have been very concerned about Florida’s Medicaid-funded nursing home beds. These are critical to the access some of our senior population has to our nursing homes.
“President Trump, Vice President Pence, Center for Medicaid Services and House leadership have committed to find a solution to ensure Florida is equipped to serve one of our most vulnerable. With these assurances and Chairman Walden’s comments that are now in the official record, I voted for the bill today.”
Here’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park:
“TrumpCare takes health care away from 24 million Americans, while the rest of us pay more for fewer benefits. Older Americans will be especially hurt, and people with pre-existing conditions will be put at risk. This bill offends my conscience and hurts my constituents, and so I voted no.
“I want every American to have access to quality, affordable health care, but this bill falls far short of that goal. We should work in a bipartisan way to strengthen what works in the Affordable Care Act and fix what doesn’t – not dismantle our health care system with a hyper-partisan bill negotiated behind closed doors and passed without a single public hearing or cost analysis.
“Virtually all patient advocates, physicians, hospitals, and independent health care experts, including the AARP, opposed this bill. Moving forward, I will do everything I can to protect our health care in a way that reduces premiums and increases benefits for families, seniors, and small businesses in central Florida.”
Here’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando:
“The Republican party has ignored the voices of millions of Americans by pushing through this disastrous bill that leaves millions of Americans behind.
“We know 24 million people will lose coverage, premiums will go up, and people with pre-existing conditions will face astronomical out-of-pocket costs. Trumpcare will use its “savings” to give tax breaks to the richest in America.
“We have asked the Republican party to work with us to help make the Affordable Care Act work better for all Americans. They refused that request, and pushed this bill through without any public hearings or a Congressional Budget Office score.
“I will continue to fight to make sure people in Central Florida, and across the nation, have quality and affordable health care.
“Health care should be a right for all, not a privilege for some.”
Republican U.S. Reps. Bill Posey of Rockledge and Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach and Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto have not yet weighed in. When they do, this article will be updated.
Here’s a sampling of other political voices from elsewhere in Florida:
Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Orlando:
“This Republican health care plan will increase costs for older Americans, cut Medicaid and take us back to the days when it was nearly impossible for anyone with a pre-existing condition to get health insurance. This bill takes health care coverage away from tens of millions of people, and I’m not going to support it.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee:
“I am sickened by today’s vote, and the waves of attacks that led to it. The House of Representatives’ vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act was foretold by years of attacks aimed at questioning its foundation and weakening its core provisions like employer-based coverage and protections for pre-existing conditions. Republicans certainly bear the brunt of responsibility for the harsh consequences of repeal, but so do all Washington politicians who aided and abetted their efforts to undercut Obamacare, making it harder for workers to gain access to health insurance for political expediency. As Governor, Floridians can count on me to protect and expand affordable healthcare coverage as a right, not a luxury.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham, a former congresswoman from Tallahassee:
“By advancing Trumpcare 2.0, Congress is completely ignoring what’s going on in the real lives of every American family. Instead of focusing on real solutions to lower the cost of healthcare, they’ve passed a bill that will eliminate coverage for more than 20 million Americans, tax seniors and force working families to pay more out of pocket.
“In Congress, I fought in support of Obamcare because it has allowed children to stay on their parents’ plans, ended discrimination against women and helped millions of Americans who have a pre-existing condition.
“We must now redouble our efforts and fight to stop Trumpcare in the Senate. I’m picking up my phone to call Senator Rubio’s office now — I hope you’ll join me in telling him to kill this bill.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King, who makes his living developing affordable housing:
“The Trumpcare bill being rammed through Congress would allow states to remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions and subject them to unconscionable premiums. One of the most horrendous aspects of this bill is that it attacks women through increased premiums on those who have been pregnant, had a c-section, or had postpartum depression. It even categorizes victims of sexual assault and domestic violence as having pre-existing conditions.
“So, I pledge that if I’m given the honor of being our next governor, Florida will not ask for or exercise any waiver that takes away protections against pre-existing conditions. On my watch, Floridians who are battling illness and disease, will have the confidence of knowing that they will not be punished for getting sick.
“There’s nothing scarier than being told you or someone you love is sick. Trumpcare only adds to that anxiety by saying once you get sick you won’t be able to afford insurance. Government should help us be free from fear, not the cause of it.
“So, I call on all my fellow candidates – including Commissioner Putnam – to join me in saying they too will not ask for, or take, any waiver that removes protections for Floridans with pre-existing conditions. Let’s be united in saying that whomever is Governor, we aren’t going to punish our sick family members. We will not punish women. And we won’t live with fear.”