Local lawmakers react to House passage of bill to repeal Obamacare

Passage of the bill Thursday is the biggest step taken toward dismantling Obamacare since Donald Trump took office

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Congressman Bill Johnson and Congressman Tim Ryan,

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As quick as news came that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Republican’s health care bill, local lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began sounding off.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) warned that the Republican healthcare plan passed could rip care away from up to 900,000 Ohioans, including more than 200,000 Ohioans receiving treatment for opioid addiction. He said the plan also weakens protections for those living with pre-existing conditions and does nothing to lower costs or improve care for Ohioans.

I agree with Governor Kasich: we cannot allow Washington politicians with taxpayer-funded health insurance to rip coverage away from Ohioans who are battling cancer, getting regular checkups for the first time or finally getting treatment for their opioid addiction,” said Brown. “This bill threatens the healthcare coverage of nearly 1 million Ohioans, including 200,000 currently battling addiction, and allows companies to jack up prices on people with preexisting conditions like asthma and diabetes. This bill is heartless, it is bad for Ohio, and it will leave real Ohioans struggling to afford care. Instead of taking care away, we should be working to reduce the price of prescription drugs and improve care for everyone.”

Passage of the bill Thursday is the biggest step taken toward dismantling Obamacare since Donald Trump took office. The measure skirted through the House by a thin 217-213 vote, as all voting Democrats and a group of mostly moderate Republican holdouts voted no.

Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) touted the passage of the bill as a “major step” toward keeping a promise made to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare. He said many have seen their premiums go up under the Affordable Care Act and they lost access to their doctors and plans that worked for them.

As we speak, many states and counties are down to one health care provider. Obamacare premiums continue to rise, and costs are out-of-control. The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which I voted in favor of, will maintain protections for people with pre-existing conditions, decrease the overall cost of health care coverage, and strengthen the health insurance market so that all Americans have more choices and greater access to affordable, quality healthcare. It’s a vast improvement over Obamacare that continues to unravel,” Johnson said.

Johnson said pre-existing conditions are covered in the bill, despite claims made by some. He said nobody can be charged higher premiums if they keep their coverage.

Over the past few weeks, the measure was revamped to attract most hard-line conservatives and some GOP centrists. In a final tweak, leaders added a modest pool of money to help people with pre-existing medical conditions afford coverage, a concern that caused a near-fatal rebellion among Republicans in recent days.

Congressman Tin Ryan, D-13th District, was quick to criticize the vote, saying the bill will have devastating consequences for working families and is a “betrayal of everything we stand for as American.”

House Republicans’ message to the American people? Get to the back of the line – behind insurance companies, HMO’s, and special interests. They took a bill that didn’t reduce the cost of premiums, that didn’t expand health coverage for all, that didn’t protect people with pre-existing conditions and that nobody liked, and nobody wanted and decided it was good policy. This is a dark day for the United States House of Representatives and our country,” Ryan said.

A defeat Thursday would have been politically devastating for President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The passage was a product of heavy lobbying by the White House and Republicans leaders, plus late revisions that nailed down the final supporters needed. The bill now faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where even GOP lawmakers say major changes are likely.

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