Lebanon Democrat: House passes health care bill

House passes health care bill

Jake Old • May 4, 2017 at 5:47 PM

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a health care bill Thursday that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The American Health Care Act was passed by a final vote of 217 in favor and 213 against, according to a tally by clerks of the U.S. House.

Representatives from Tennessee voted along party lines in the vote. Republicans Diane Black, Phil Roe, John Duncan, Chuck Fleishmann, Scott DesJarlais, Marsha Blackburn and David Kustoff voted yes, while Democrats Jim Cooper and Steve Cohen voted no.

“House Republicans fulfilled the promise we made to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Black said. “It has been hard work to reach this point, but governing is never easy, and we were elected to tackle the big issues. I’m proud of my colleagues in the House for staying in the fight to make this bill better over the past couple months.”

In addition to some Tennessee representatives who spoke on the floor during Thursday’s session, several voiced their opinions of the bill Thursday afternoon following the vote.

“I voted for the American Health Care Act because our current health care system is failing Tennesseans,” said U.S. Rep. David Kustoff.

Blackburn and Roe each issued statements through their websites Thursday afternoon.

“Earlier today, my colleagues and I voted in favor of the American Health Care Act, which will finally repeal the burdensome Affordable Care Act,” Blackburn said. “Many of you have expressed your concerns about the rising costs that have ensued after eight years of impractical legislation. That’s why we’ve taken action to get rid of Obamacare.”

“This bill has been years in the making, and I am proud to support it,” Roe said.

DesJarlais, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, which fought to pass the bill, praised his colleagues after the bill was passed in the House.

“We’re helping President Trump to fulfill his promise to the American people suffering under Obamacare,” DesJarlais said. “In Tennessee, my constituents have it especially bad. Health care costs are skyrocketing, and many have no choice of coverage at all.”

Cooper and Cohen, the two Tennessee votes against the bill, both released statements speaking against it.

“I proudly voted against Trumpcare,” Cooper said. “This Republican bill is a national tragedy. Millions of Americans will lose health coverage and protections. Lives will be lost, and Congress will regret the vote. I pray the Senate will reject this reckless plan.”

“I voted against Trumpcare today because it is harmful to the average American and will result in people dying because they don’t have access to quality, affordable health insurance,” Cohen said.

“This poorly-thought-out legislation, that has a mere 17 percent approval rating, allows states to discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions and to opt out of offering essential health benefits such as maternity care, mental health services, pediatric services, preventative care services, drug abuse treatment and physical rehabilitation services.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander issued a statement about the House vote and the forthcoming vote by the U.S. Senate.

“I congratulate the House on passage of its bill,” Alexander said. “The Senate will now finish work on our bill, but will take the time to get it right.”

Protect our Care Director Leslie Dach released a statement admonishing the bill and possible effects it could have.

“House Republicans, with the full support of President Trump, just voted to rip apart people’s health care,” Dach said. “They have done this over 50 times before. They may be proud of themselves, but the American people are not.”

National organization Patriotic Millionaires, a group of 200 high-net-worth Americans that focuses on promoting public policy for political equality, condemned the bill in a statement as “a tax cut for the wealthy masquerading as a health care bill.”

Sen. Bob Corker said Thursday morning in an appearance on MSNBC that it is not likely the bill would be approved without changes by the Senate.  

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