The House of Representatives took a major step in the crusade to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, today.
Congressman Charlie Dent and Brian Fitzpatrick, however, did not join them.
The two PA Reps were among the nine GOP members of the House to vote against the budget bill (including the repeal in budget legislation allows it to bypass the cloture process in the Senate).
No Democrats voted for it while ten members, five from each party, missed the vote. As a result, the final tally was 227-198.
“Too much of the debate surrounding the ACA has been on buzz words and slogans: repeal, defund, delay, replace, fix, reform,” Congressman Fitzpatrick stated. “What needs to be at the center of any discussion on health policy is the common goal of expanding coverage, improving quality and lowering costs. Any changes or improvements to our current system must ensure both the continuity of coverage and the continuity of patient protection provisions, and should be undertaken in a bipartisan fashion.”
Rep. Dent released the following statement:
“Obamacare is a deeply flawed law that has led to disruptions for many families and individuals’, higher costs through increased co-pays and higher deductibles, and higher taxes for millions of hardworking families. That is why I opposed the law in 2010 when it was voted on in the House of Representative. I do believe, however, that Congress must be deliberative and thoughtful about the repeal, replace and reform efforts.
This is why prior to Republicans initiating the Obamacare repeal process, I and others from across the political spectrum, have called on House leaders to fully develop an articulate comprehensive and achievable replacement plan that ably meets the health needs of Americans.
The Republican Conference has a number of outstanding replacement and reform ideas for health care, but I have yet to see a concrete plan that takes these ideas and forges them into a package that will become law.
There is too much talk about tax baselines and arbitrary deadlines as the reason for moving forward with such haste. It is more important to me that we get this done right than that we get this done fast.
Our concern should be focused less on timetable and more on how Congress’ actions will impact the people in our communities and states who desperately need coverage and care – such as those with pre-existing conditions or those suffering from mental health issues or substance abuse problems.
With this vote initiating the repeal process, I hope that Congress will proceed deliberately when it comes to crafting the actual repeal and replacement package, and Congressional leadership and the President must clearly lay out a plan for the American people.”
The Republican Party is unsure of what exactly to replace the ACA with. Additionally, they’ll need to break the 60-vote cloture threshold in the Senate to pass any legislation setting up a new program. Meanwhile, President-Elect Trump insists that this will all somehow be done near simultaneously.