Archive for Thursday, May 4, 2017

Joyful House Republicans vote to repeal reviled ‘Obamacare’

President Donald Trump talks with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 4, 2017, after the House pushed through a health care bill. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. is at left, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas is at right. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump talks with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 4, 2017, after the House pushed through a health care bill. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. is at left, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas is at right. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

May 4, 2017, 9:33 a.m. Updated May 4, 2017, 5:20 p.m.

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— Delivering at last, triumphant House Republicans voted Thursday to repeal and replace the "Obamacare" health plan they have reviled for so long, overcoming united Democratic opposition and their own deep divisions to hand a major win to President Donald Trump.

The 217-213 vote was a narrow victory, and ultimate success is far from assured since the measure must still make its way through a highly skeptical Senate. But after seven years of campaign promises and dozens of show votes, Republicans finally succeeded in passing a health care bill that has a chance of becoming law.

They weren't waiting for final passage to celebrate.

"What a great group of people!" Trump exclaimed at the White House, arms raised to salute the dozens of lawmakers who hurried to join him in the Rose Garden immediately after the vote. Set aside for the moment were the feuds and philosophical divides that nearly sank the bill time and again.

And at the same time, the Republicans had begun to show that perhaps they can come together and govern the country now that they control Washington in full.

"Make no mistake, this is a repeal and a replace of Obamacare, make no mistake about it," Trump declared. "Premiums will be coming down, deductibles will be coming down, but very importantly it's a great plan."

Democrats countered that the GOP bill would have the opposite effect from what Trump predicted, pointing to estimates it will kick millions off the insurance roles while imperiling coverage for people with pre-existing conditions who had gained protections under Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

They also forecast that Republicans will pay a steep political price for passing legislation that's polled poorly and takes concrete benefits away while offering only promises of more choices and lower costs.

"You will glow in the dark on this one," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dramatically warned, predicting Republicans will be radioactive with voters in the 2018 midterm elections.

Indeed Democrats seemed practically giddy as the vote closed on the House floor, jeering at Republicans with chants of "nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, goodbye" — an echo of how protesters serenaded Democrats seven years ago when they passed Obama's bill.

The GOP health bill would eliminate the fines Obama's law imposed on people who don't buy coverage, and erase tax increases in the Affordable Care Act on higher-earning people and the health industry. It would cut the Medicaid program for low-income people and let states impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. It would transform Obama's subsidies for millions buying insurance, now based largely on their incomes, making the funding skimpier and tying it to consumers' ages.

And states could get federal waivers freeing insurers from other Obama coverage requirements. With waivers, insurers could charge people with pre-existing illnesses far higher rates than healthy customers, boost prices for older people to whatever they wish, and ignore a mandate that they cover specified services like pregnancy care.

The bill would block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year, considered a triumph by many anti-abortion Republicans.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated in March that the GOP bill would end coverage for 24 million people over a decade. The House voted without a CBO estimate for the latest version of their bill.

Although it's focused mostly on the minority of Americans who buy health coverage in the individual market, the GOP bill could also significantly impact the many who are covered by large employer plans. In one little-noted provision, employer plans could take advantage of state flexibility under the legislation to pick and choose which states' rules to live by. That could allow them to impose annual and lifetime coverage limits, which are prohibited under Obamacare, and get rid of certain annual out-of-pocket spending caps.

Protesters were on hand again for Thursday's vote, shouting "Shame on you! Shame on you!" and "2018! 2018!" as Republicans boarded buses outside the Capitol to head to the White House.

Yet as the 2016 election amply demonstrated, political outcomes can be difficult to predict. Republicans argued they would have had a still heavier price to pay if they failed to make good on an endlessly repeated pledge that helped them seize control of the House, the Senate and the White House in the years since the law passed.

Back in 2010, the Democrats held Congress and the White House and used their majorities to jam through an unpopular health care law on a partisan basis, just as Republicans have done now.

As lawmakers prepared to vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan told them: "Many of you have been waiting seven years to cast this vote. Many of you are here because you pledged to cast this vote."

"They expect us to govern — if we're going to be around," Republican Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida said of voters.

The White House had pushed hard for a vote, and Trump got personally involved in last-minute maneuvering. He helped bring wavering moderates on board after a deal secured by conservatives last week scared them off by limiting protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The final change, agreed to just Wednesday at the White House, was to add $8 billion over five years to help people with pre-existing conditions, a sum critics called a relative pittance.

Indeed, despite assurances by GOP leaders that their legislation would rescue a failing health care system, it was opposed by nearly all medical and consumer groups, from the American Medical Association to AARP. The Chamber of Commerce supported the bill.

The health legislation passed the House on a banner day for Republicans on Capitol Hill, as the Senate gave final congressional approval to a bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the government running through September, and a House committee approved legislation that would gut the Democratic-authored Dodd-Frank law that regulated Wall Street after the 2008 financial crisis.

Comments

Steve Jacob 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Kevin Yoder has been scared to death of this vote all year, so we will see what his vote is. Sure his e-mail box if full.

Phillip Chappuie 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I called Ms. Jenkins office and made my position clear. I'm quite certain she paid no attention. I'm also quite sure that if this all passes that people with preexisting conditions are going to get hosed like no other. Priced out of the game for most. The GOP and Trump: Making America sick again.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 3 weeks ago

So did I, but you know she only listens to her party leaders.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Now you no longer have to pay a fine at tax time, because you want to use the emergency room for free, instead of getting insurance. I'm so happy for you.

Bob Smith 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Again with making up what you want people to think.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Then why is he so happy about people losing their insurance? It's easy to assume he doesn't want to pay for his insurance. Either that or he revels in the suffering of other people. Of course, he could be heavily invested in insurance companies, so he is chomping at the bit for more money. And I guess he could be celebrating the stab to that black guy. You know hatred of a black president before love of country. He has a hard time writing anything that doesn't fit on a bumper sticker, so it's up to us to try and interpret his words. Maybe he should go back to school.

Steve Jacob 8 months, 3 weeks ago

As the KC Star pointed out, Yoder and Jenkins yes votes mean that can't vote for Medicare expansion if they become governor. Anyway, they will have to make a bunch of changes to pass the Senate.

Daniel Kennamore 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Dead on arrival in the Senate.

And the Dems are right, GOP are failing to see the writing on the wall and are heading towards an landslide defeats in 2018...and this bill is only going to hurt them.

Fun history fact, the House GOP members sung the same song to the DEMs when they passed Clinton's tax changes in the early 90's. The DEMS went on to lose the majority.

History about to repeat itself.

Laura Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It's never going to pass the senate as is and the changes they make will be rejected by the house. I was depressed until I realized that. And, I'm really hoping the Democrats just harp on this mess constantly, how many people will lose coverage or end up paying skyrocketing rates in states like ours for pre-existing conditions, until it's time to vote and the Republicans lose a bunch of seats. Unlike the ACA, which took bipartisan effort to pass, this mess had no input from Democrats and when it screws people, it's all on Republicans' heads.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The saddest part of this bill is it will give states more money to do with what they please for health care, and knowing our governor he'll find a way to try and shore up his failed experiment, instead of spending it on the health of Kansas citizens. They will make poor cancer patients patch pot holes to pay for their treatments.

Steven Guinn 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Since 2005, I havent paid for multiple ICU ADMISSIONS, MULTIPLE STENT PLACEMENTS. I only go to major facilities. All I had to say waS NO INSURANCE, NO ASSESTS. Unlike the worthless local hospital with lazy Doctors...continue to get great care in EMERGENCY ROOMS..You see folks..St.Lukes and other major hospitals have HUGE FOUNDATIONS that pay for un-compensated care. Last I reviewed St. Lukes...7 Billion. St. Lukes is supported by the very wealthy Jewish community.

I live in SF BAY AREA and the same holds true with Kiaser, Sutter Health.

I tried to get insurance in 1997 through state of kansas high risk pool and my premium would have been....wait....you won't believe this...$2,500.00 a month. I am a DIABETIC. Primary healthcare currently SUCKS and does not meet the needs of patients like me with CRITICAL NEEDS.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow!! Lots of opinions here....here is mine......

Health care is expensive. Many people cannot afford health care. They do not have the money.

Most other civilized countries in the world provide health care for their citizens. The amount and circumstances vary, however.

In the United States, the former legitimate President of the United States managed to get a plan called the "Affordable Care Act" (or the racist "Obamacare") that none of the politicians and advocates before him had succeeded in doing in the past. It was a painfully flawed program, but a program that attempted to provide health care to our citizens.

As the flaws and problems developed the Republicans jumped on it and made many stupid and incomprehensible ways to attack the former President and his "Obamacare" They would repeal and replace "Obamacare". They are liars. This new bill will never survive ultimate scrutiny of reality, of the fact that millions of Chinese dollars will ultimately be needed to advance this fraud.

Stay tuned America. This is going to get grisly and horrifying.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 3 weeks ago

No coherent thoughts or addressing his points? Oh yeah, it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker.

Steven Guinn 8 months, 3 weeks ago

So, I have to correct previous writer..THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RACISM. It is a very ugly term that DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING. FOLKS, WE ARE ALL PART OF THE HUMAN RACE..Now there is different ETHNIC GROUPS.
The term rascism comes from 45th Union General in charge of Indian schools. He coined the term to describe Native Americans desire to stay together, to worship their Creator, to have their own unique cculture.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I got news for you Steven.....I worked for years around people who used the "N" word freely and often. One woman in my department made frequent referrals to the President of the United States with the "n" word. She made remarks about the coincidence of the "n word" President and the Martin Luther King holiday. She was not alone. There is entrenched racism everywhere. For you to make such stupid an false contentions is ludicrous. I need to CORRECT YOU IN YOUR IGNORANCE.

Steven Guinn 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Sorry for typos and I don't know where 45 came from.

Lynn Grant 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Steven, I can guess where "45" came from.

Richard Heckler 8 months, 3 weeks ago

YODER voted for Trump less care as suspected. Yoder lets the voters down again as the Kansas delegation does consistently.

Consumers deserve a choice not a dictate from the Hill on what we must do. Yes a choice not an order from the most corrupt government on planet earth. Where are the taxpayers who own this government? Why aren't they screaming for choices instead of allowing white collar crooks to make OUR decisions?

Then provide 3 choices: ALLOW THE CONSUMERS TO MAKE THE CHOICE!

=== ObamaCare which retains the health insurance industry

=== Single Payer Medicare for ALL = excellent coverage for all who wish to subscribe.

Single-Payer (HR 676 and S 703) Expanded Medicare for All Vs. Proposed Healthcare “Private insurance with Public Option” http://www.healthcare-now.org/docs/spreport.pdf ( very interesting findings)

=== Self financed health care for the financially fiscally fit if one wants to opt out.

Can conservatives get on with this without screwing up healthcare, without a bunch of BS and stop throwing fiscal conservatives, republicans,green party thinkers and democrats under the bus?

Obvously NOT!

Talk about BS.

Just imagine how many millions of healthcare dollars are being funneled to lobbyists and elected officials plus the budget for misinformation from the insurance industry and pharmaceutical industry which BTW is being billed to those paying for medical insurance.

What fraudulent use of healthcare dollars!!!

Could this fraudulent spending be connected to increased cost of medical insurance? Of course.

When ObamaCare and Single Payer were being debated the industries were spending $1.4 million health care dollars a day according to the Washington Post.

Bob Smith 8 months, 3 weeks ago

They had to pass the bill to find out what was in it. Sound familiar?

Greg Cooper 8 months, 2 weeks ago

They don't give a damn what's in it: it wasn't theirs so it was bad. End of story.

Brad Avery 8 months, 3 weeks ago

An example of the blind, who couldn't read the bill before voting on it, following the blind who can't see the destruction this bill could bring upon their fellow countrymen and the Republican party.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Fortunately.......this bill is dead on arrival. The Senate still has a say and I would hope there are more sane and reasonable members in the U.S. Senate than the Trumpet section in the House. Stay tuned folks. This could get interesting for the fraudulent "President".

Bob Smith 8 months, 2 weeks ago

BTW, HR 676 has been walking around Congress like a zombie since 2003. It's the Harold Stassen of bills.

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