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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