Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., said he would vote 'no' on the GOP health care repeal and replacement bill ahead of Thursday's vote.
The vote narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives 217 to 213 with no Democratic support. 20 Republican members voted against the bill, including Rep. Reichert and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Southwest Washington.
"This is not to be about party politics. It’s not about retaining my seat or gathering my votes. This is about the healthcare of America. We need to do the right thing by Americans. And this bill, although a good attempt, falls short. That’s the struggle I’ve been having," Rep. Reichert told KING 5 by phone.
Reichert, who had been undecided since the initial health care vote faltered on March 25, said he does not believe the bill reaches the standard American people deserve.
A new amendment this week was aimed at winning over moderate Republicans, including Reichert, by adding money to help people with serious diseases pay medical costs. However, Reichert said he believes the amendment does not go far enough.
“This a temporary five year fix that puts people in a position…If you have a serious illness that you’re dealing with, a lot of times this is an illness that isn’t cured," said Reichert. “It sometimes takes longer than four or five or six years."
Through early this morning, Reichert had been lobbied by GOP leadership including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump.
"My concerns have not been alleviated," said Reichert. "To me this process should have been one that was bi-partisan in the first place."
"I think we need a better bill, and I’m hoping that comes out of the Senate," he said.
The measure is expected to face major changes in the upper chamber, where Republican members have already expressed concern.
How Washington members voted
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash, who was a co-sponsor of the Upton amendment, voted 'yes.' As part of the GOP leadership team, she had been heavily involved in selling the vote to Republican members.
“Today is historic. With the American Health Care Act, the House voted to keep its promise to the American people: we’re going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a health care system that puts them -- not the federal government -- in control of their health care decisions. After marathon markups, listening to feedback from doctors and patients and advocates, and tough conversations with our colleagues, we came together to ensure this bill that will improve lives. I’m very proud of our work, and of the leadership of my colleagues who have been working on these reforms for years," said a statement in part.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash. voted no.
“I remain steadfast in my commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare with health care solutions that better serve all residents of Southwest Washington. Despite working with House leadership, the President and Vice President up until the last minute to improve it, I still didn’t feel that the American Health Care Act does enough to make health care affordable and accessible for all. And while I appreciate House leadership’s willingness to meet me halfway on my amendment to ensure vulnerable children aren’t left behind, the final bill still fell short," read a statment in part.
“The difficulties this bill would create for millions of children still need to be addressed. For the last several weeks, I fought to include my amendment to strengthen the Medicaid safety net for the kids who depend on it for their health care. Protecting vulnerable children is a core purpose of the Medicaid program and when the program fails to do so, it fails entirely. I could not vote to let those kids fall through the cracks," she said in a statement.
Rep. Reichert, R-Wash. voted no.
"With all of the political banter surrounding this bill, it can be difficult to remember that this decision ultimately comes down to people. We need to know our loved ones can get and afford the care they need, regardless of age, income, or health status," Reichert added in a prepared statement. "And we need to know that changes made by our government, even to a failing system, will not leave our friends, families, and neighbors worse off. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fix what is failing and make our current system work better for American families," he said in a statement.
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington is not present for the vote. A spokesman says he's in Washington State due to a family emergency.
“For years, I have been hearing from Central Washington families who lost insurance that they wanted to keep and are now paying more for health care due to the Affordable Care Act. Their stories of paying higher prices for insurance and higher deductibles with limited insurance options have been the reason I have voted in the past to repeal Obamacare along with its mandate and bureaucratic regulations. I strongly believe that every American deserves access to affordable health care, and the status quo under the ACA is not working. Because of my wife Carol’s health, I have largely remained by her side and was unable to be in D.C. for the vote on the AHCA. I am pleased the process to improve our health care system will continue with action by the Senate and further negotiations with the House. I will continue to work with my colleagues to keep my promise to reverse the burdens created by Obamacare and restore patient-centered health care," read a statement.
All of Washington's Democratic members voted against the bill.
Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Washington
“This destructive legislation has gone from bad to worse,” DelBene said in a statement. “Leaving 24 million Americans without coverage and the 133 million Americans without protections for pre-existing conditions isn’t just wrong — it’s inhumane. As I’ve heard from hundreds of constituents, nobody should face bankruptcy just to afford the medical care they need to stay alive. I hope the Senate has the courage and wisdom to stop this ill-conceived legislation before it destabilizes our healthcare system. American families deserve certainty and stability, not more chaos and confusion.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington
“TrumpCare 2.0 adds insult to injury because my Republican colleagues would like you to believe that they’re going to cover pre-existing conditions and that is just not true. American people, be clear: this will not cover pre-existing conditions and a 133 million Americans with those pre-existing conditions will suffer," said in prepared remarks on the floor.
Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Washington
“President Trump has repeatedly promised that any effort to replace the Affordable Care Act will lower costs, protect folks with pre-existing conditions, and won't lead to a loss in coverage for folks who have it now,” said Kilmer. “The bill approved with the President's support today breaks all those promises. I am committed to working with anyone, regardless of party, to make our healthcare system better. But I cannot support an effort that covers fewer people and costs people more.”
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Washington
“Today, Congressional Republicans and President Trump forced a vote on Trumpcare 2.0, legislation that is even more heartless than the first version,” said Larsen in a statement. “If Trumpcare 2.0 becomes law, 24 million Americans will lose health coverage, necessary benefits like maternity care will become optional, and protections for individuals living with pre-existing conditions will be scrapped. This is a plan to destroy America’s healthcare, not fix it.”
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington
“Republicans, driven by a desire to deliver on a political promise, made irresponsible and harmful changes to the ACHA, which erode essential protections and high quality care, solely to placate Members of the House Republican caucus. Republicans are kidding themselves if they believe eliminating coverage for millions is a desirable approach to further improving health care in this country. Rather than building upon our existing health care law, they are systematically destroying our health care structure. Republicans, led by President Trump, have already undermined the current system by inserting uncertainty and instability into the market, rolling back key consumer protections, weakening enforcement of the individual mandate, and tampering with rules to benefit insurers at the cost of the American people," read a statement in part.
Senator Patty Murray, D-Washington statement:
“I’m appalled by the action taken today in the House to jam Trumpcare through, regardless of the extraordinary harm it would do to patients and families,” Senator Murray said. “House Republicans just voted for an even worse version of the same Trumpcare bill that people across the country rejected only weeks ago. They voted to raise premiums and undo protections for people with pre-existing conditions, take coverage away from tens of millions of people, end Medicaid as we know it, cut off access to critical health care services at Planned Parenthood, and more—all while giving insurance companies and the very wealthy massive tax breaks. They may think they delivered a political win for President Trump today, but let’s be clear: Trumpcare is headed straight to a dead-end here in the Senate, because women and families nationwide are going to fight back harder than ever against this disastrous bill and Democrats are going to be standing with them every step of the way.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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