The GOP health care replacement bill could head to the House floor as early as next week, but does it have the votes to pass?
Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the number four ranking Republican in the U.S. House, tells KING 5 the health care bill has the votes.
“This is our moment; it’s now or never. We have to move on it, and we have to move on it now,” Rep. McMorris Rodgers (R-5th District) told KING 5. “The Affordable Care Act is failing. When you look at the projections for 2017, we’re going to see more premium increases, we’re going to see less plans. One out of three counties in America only have one plan available.”
However, Washington is one of the states where the Affordable Care Act has worked best, enrolling more than 750,000 individuals since passing, according to the State’s Insurance Commissioner. The rate of uninsured dropped by 58%, according to his statistics.
According to new calculations by the Insurance Commissioners Office, 600,000 fewer individuals would be insured under the Republicans’ “American Health Care Act,” starting in 2020. That number reflects the loss of the Medicaid expansion under the replacement plan.
“It is a disaster for Washington,” said Democratic Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday who indicated he plans to reach out to members of Washington’s delegation and persuade them to vote against the bill.
“I think you’re seeing developing in our nation’s capitol, buyers remorse that’s kicking in pretty quickly,” Governor Inslee told reporters on a conference call.
A Congressional Budget Office report released this week estimates 24 million fewer will be uninsured over the next decade nationwide, potentially hitting low-income Americans hardest.
“The CBO score doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t take into account future actions that we will be taking that will lower costs and increase the coverage options,” countered Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers.
McMorris Rodgers stressed that current Medicaid expansion recipients will be grandfathered in. Future Medicaid reductions would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion by 2026, according to CBO.
The report also projects that premiums would decrease starting in 2020; however, notes the changes would differ “significantly” based on age. The analysis indicates older, poorer Americans would see the greatest reductions in coverage and cost increases.
“Under the legislation, insurers would be allowed to generally charge five times more for older enrollees than younger ones rather than three times more as under the current law, substantially reducing premiums for young adults and substantially raising premiums for older people,” reads the report.
“I think as we are able to reduce premiums, increase choices and then bring down health care costs in general, you’re going to see those overall costs come down such that the overall tax credits will be more impactful,” pushed back McMorris Rodgers.
“I’ve heard some people try to defend this by saying there’s some magic pixie potion that the Republicans are going to come up with later on to make this work,” argued Governor Inslee.
“Who could possibly think this was a good idea?” the governor continued. “Well, it’s become clear to me that this is a tax cut for the rich masquerading as a healthcare reform.”
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers calls that “a wrong assumption,” saying that middle and lower income Americans also saw their taxes increase under the Affordable Care Act.
However, high-income earners would benefit most from savings. Meanwhile, conservative Republicans fault the bill’s “refundable tax credit” proposal as yet another entitlement.
Despite concerns raised by both the conservative wing of the Party, as well as moderate Republicans running for re-election in swing districts in 2018, McMorris Rodgers believe GOP leadership will have the 216 votes needed to pass out of the House.
“I think we’re going to continue to work with members and get to a place where we have the support we need on the floor,” she said.
What Washington's Delegation is saying, following CBO report:
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-3rd District, statement issued Thursday
"There are legitimate concerns about how this bill would impact children's hospitals, low-income and older people that must be addressed. I just came from a meeting with House Republican leadership on this bill and my message to them was: we have to get this right. Even if it takes additional time and consideration, it's worth it to make sure that we repeal Obamacare and replace it with something that works for the people I serve. As far as I'm concerned the bill is still a work in progress and is not our final product."
Rep. Dave Reichert, R-8th District, statement issued Wednesday
"The American Health Care Act is just the first step in our plan to provide Americans with more affordable, patient-centered health care. The CBO’s score does not include the additional steps that are critical to our overall health care solution. Our goal remains to provide access for all Americans. Through work with the Administration and additional reforms, we will continue to increase competition to provide more choices and lower costs for families," said Reichert in a statement to KING 5.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-5th District
“The CBO report confirms that House Republicans’ process to repeal and replace Obamacare will lower premiums and taxes, reduce the federal deficit, increase consumer choice, and reform Medicaid for the first time in its 52-year history. I hear the concerns people have about CBO’s projected coverage numbers. However, their score doesn’t tell the whole story. CBO doesn’t take into account future actions Congress and the Administration will take to further lower costs and increase coverage options. Our plan will open up the insurance market so more people can find plans they want at prices they can afford, while addressing the disconnect between coverage and access to care.
No response yet from Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-4th District
Senator Patty Murray, D-WA
“As members of the Republican Party have said themselves, there is no three-pronged approach—only desperate attempts to build support for a law that will kick tens of millions of people off of coverage, target seniors for higher health care costs, spike premiums, cut off access to Planned Parenthood, and end Medicaid as we know it. If Republicans truly want to avoid the chaos and dysfunction Trumpcare will cause, they should step back from the precipice now—because Democrats aren’t tossing them a rope once they’ve gone over the edge," said in statement issued Friday.
Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-1st District
“While some may use ‘alternative facts,’ my constituents and I live in reality. And there is no denying that the CBO score confirms this is a dangerous and irresponsible bill that threatens to destabilize our nation’s healthcare system, rob millions of Americans of their health insurance and raise costs for middle-class families, seniors, women and people with disabilities,” DelBene said. “House Republicans are clearly trying to jam this bill through because they know they can’t justify the numbers to the American people. Instead of building upon the reforms we’ve already made to expand coverage and reduce costs, Republicans are forcing people to pay more for less.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-2nd District
“The numbers are in and they paint a clear picture: by any meaningful measurement such as health care quality, coverage, or cost, Trumpcare is a disaster when compared against the Affordable Care Act. Instead of improving upon current law – which reduced the deficit and resulted in the lowest uninsured rate in American history – President Trump and Speaker Ryan have devised a scheme that would leave tens of millions of people without health coverage while giving a tax break to the super wealthy.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-7th District
“The CBO report shows the Republican bill is nothing more than a dangerous ideological wish list that strips 24 million Americans of health care, raises premiums by more than fifteen percent, makes our seniors pay more, and guts Medicaid by almost $1 trillion. All of this in order to give $600 billion in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest amongst us. Americans will pay more for health care and get less coverage. This will be life and death – literally – for millions of Americans. This plan is simply not a plan. Republicans who truly care about their constituents will vote no to ripping apart our health care system and leaving millions of families without insurance."
Rep. Adam Smith, D-9th District
“I am very concerned about the potential impact of the AHCA. Despite promises made by House Republicans, individuals with pre-existing conditions and others who gained healthcare under the ACA will be at risk of the quality of their coverage being reduced or losing health insurance entirely," said statement in part.
“Repealing the ACA would take us back to a time where millions of Americans were uninsured. The ACA is not perfect and we still have a long way to go to improve our health care system to increase access and bring costs down. I support addressing those provisions of the health care law that are burdensome to individuals and problematic for businesses.We should not, however, repeal the entire law or weaken its core tenets.”