NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

SHAME! Republican-controlled U.S. House votes to take away healthcare from millions

In a brazen, whol­ly inde­fen­si­ble act of mal­ice and cru­el­ty, the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed today to take away the health­care of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. By a vote of 217–213, with­out a sin­gle Demo­c­ra­t­ic vote, the House passed a mon­strous bill that, if approved by the Sen­ate and signed by Don­ald Trump, would amount to a death sen­tence for many in our coun­try.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as fol­lows:

Vot­ing Aye: Repub­li­cans Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers (WA), Greg Walden (OR), Mike Simp­son and Raúl Labrador (ID), Don Young (AK)

Vot­ing Nay: Democ­rats Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Adam Smith, Den­ny Heck (WA), Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Kurt Schrad­er (OR); Repub­li­cans Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dave Reichert (WA)

Not Vot­ing: Repub­li­can Dan New­house (WA)

“From the begin­ning, [Trump­cuts] has meant high­er health costs, more than 24 mil­lion hard-work­ing Amer­i­cans los­ing health cov­er­age, gut­ting key pro­tec­tions, a crush­ing age tax, and steal­ing from Medicare,” said Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Nan­cy Pelosi pri­or to the vote. “With each pass­ing week, Repub­li­cans have only made their bill more cost­ly and more cru­el to Amer­i­can fam­i­lies.”

“If Repub­li­cans pass [Trump­cuts], Amer­i­cans with pre-exist­ing con­di­tions will be pushed off their insur­ance and seg­re­gat­ed into high risk pools – where they will face soar­ing costs, worse cov­er­age, and restrict­ed care.”

“[Trump­cuts] spells heart-stop­ping pre­mi­um increas­es for Amer­i­cans with any­thing from asth­ma to can­cer.  It’s a fright­en­ing future for fam­i­lies who need afford­able, depend­able health care the most. Forc­ing a vote with­out a CBO score shows that Repub­li­cans are ter­ri­fied of the pub­lic learn­ing the full con­se­quences of their plan to push Amer­i­cans with pre-exist­ing con­di­tions into the cold.”

“But tomor­row, House Repub­li­cans are going to tat­too this moral mon­stros­i­ty to their fore­heads, and the Amer­i­can peo­ple will hold them account­able.”

Twen­ty Repub­li­cans joined the entire House Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus in vot­ing no, includ­ing Dave Reichert (WA-08), who Repub­li­can lead­er­ship allowed to vote no after deter­min­ing that his vote was not need­ed to pass the bill.

“Today is a shame­ful day in Amer­i­can his­to­ry,” said Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, harsh­ly denounc­ing the pas­sage of the bill.

“Repub­li­cans in Con­gress have vot­ed to strip health care cov­er­age from over 700,000 Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, and to remove the guar­an­tee that all Amer­i­cans can­not be denied cov­er­age or charged more because they have a pre-exist­ing con­di­tion.”

“Their actions today threat­en the health and finan­cial secu­ri­ty of mil­lions of Amer­i­can fam­i­lies and under­mine our health insur­ance mar­kets, result­ing in like­ly pre­mi­um spikes. We have made great progress in Wash­ing­ton state’s health care sys­tem through bipar­ti­san work and sup­port, yet Con­gress is now threat­en­ing to throw it all away in favor of poor­ly-con­ceived par­ti­san leg­is­la­tion.”

“I am proud that eight mem­bers of Wash­ing­ton’s House del­e­ga­tion — two Repub­li­cans and all six Democ­rats — vot­ed against this bill for the harm it would cause our state. I urge the Unit­ed States Sen­ate to reject the leg­is­la­tion passed today in the House, and I urge Wash­ing­to­ni­ans to con­tin­ue mak­ing their voic­es heard as Con­gress con­sid­ers tak­ing our coun­try in the wrong direc­tion.”

“This destruc­tive leg­is­la­tion has gone from bad to worse,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene (D‑WA-01), who vot­ed no.

“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.”

U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rick Larsen (D‑WA-02) agreed, call­ing the leg­is­la­tion even more heart­less than the first incar­na­tion. “If [Trump­cuts] 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.”

“[Trump­cuts] 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,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal (D‑WA-07) in brief remarks on the House floor dur­ing the debate.  “Kids like James Kish, an eight-year old in my dis­trict who has a brain tumor and lit­er­al­ly stands to DIE if this bill pass­es.”

“Mr. Speak­er, hun­dreds across this coun­try are call­ing our offices and weep­ing. We should all weep that this bill is com­ing to the floor.”

“It is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine what world my Repub­li­can col­leagues are in that they could vote yes on such a bill,” Jaya­pal said fol­low­ing the vote.

“I can­not imag­ine how they will go home and face grand­moth­ers who will be kicked out of nurs­ing homes or kids with asth­ma who will no longer be able to afford inhalers. I can­not imag­ine what they will say to women in their dis­tricts who will pay more for sim­ply being women, or be barred from care if they have a C‑section – which is now con­sid­ered a pre-exist­ing con­di­tion.”

“To mil­lions across this coun­try who are ter­ri­fied of what will hap­pen, I would urge you: this is not over yet. Stay in the streets. Call your sen­a­tors and tell them to vote no. When your Mem­ber of Con­gress comes home after vot­ing yes, tell them exact­ly what you think of their cru­el vote to strip health care from mil­lions.”

“I intend to con­tin­ue to fight every sin­gle day to pro­tect and expand health care and to hold those account­able who do not do so. We are so much bet­ter than this.”

To pre­vail, House Repub­li­can boss Paul Ryan was forced to capit­u­late to the demands of the mil­i­tant extrem­ist wing of his par­ty. The result is a piece of leg­is­la­tion that can only be called a mon­stros­i­ty.

Its prospects in the Sen­ate aren’t good.

“Mem­bers have been asked to vote for a bill that is par­tic­u­lar­ly treach­er­ous, that is going nowhere in the Sen­ate,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Char­lie Dent of Penn­syl­va­nia, one of the most rea­son­able Repub­li­cans in the U.S. House.

“This leg­is­la­tion will be gut­ted and we will have vot­ed for a bill that will nev­er become law. Will it cause headaches for peo­ple? Absolute­ly.”

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