Update: The Obamacare repeal bill has passed the House.
As expected, all Democrats in Washington’s Congressional delegation voted against the plan. Also voting “no” were Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dave Reichert. Reichert hadn’t committed one way or the other on the bill until shortly before the vote. He told the Seattle Times this morning that the GOP plan fell short in protecting poor kids and those with pre-existing conditions. He said he was unconcerned with blow back form the Republican Party for voting against the bill.
“I am in the world of politics, but I am like an oddity here. I am the sheriff,” he told the paper. “What are they going to do? Shoot me? Stab me? I’ve been stabbed before.”
Voting “yes” for the bill was Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. According to the New York Times, Rep. Dan Newhouse did not cast a vote, though he was previously listed as in support of the bill.
Local Democrats were quick to decry the House vote. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said the bill removes important protections for patients.
“House Republicans passed their bill so that they could declare a ‘win.’ The reality is that this legislation, if signed into law as is, would strip coverage and protections from millions of Americans. It would increase costs, put lives at risk and return us to the dark days before the Affordable Care Act,” Kreidler said in a press release.
Update: Rep. Dave Reichert tells King 5 he is a No vote on the AHCA.
— Natalie Brand (@NatalieBrandK5) May 4, 2017
Original post from 7:30 this morning…
We thought Groundhog Day was back in February.
But with House leaders calling for a vote on a Obamacare-repeal plan today—saying they now have the votes they didn’t when they had to shelve the plan earlier this year—the statements coming out of Washington’s Congressional delegation feel like a little bit of history repeating: All the Democrats are opposed (of course); Eastern Washington Republicans Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse are for; Southwestern Washington Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler is against; and King County’s own Dave Reichert? Well, we still don’t know where Dave stands on things.
After voting for a version of the Republican’s American Health Care Act in the House Way and Means committee back in February, the former sheriff has made an art of being noncommittal on the controversial piece of legislation. Leading up to the previously scheduled vote, he refused to say how he would vote, and because the legislation was pulled from the floor, he never had to show his hand. His refusal to participate in any live town hall meetings over the last few months has helped him avoid anything but well-crafted, non-committal statements on the legislation. And now, again, the New York Times lists Reichert as “undecided or unclear” in its whip count. However, with Republicans saying they now have the votes to pass the AHCA, we may soon learn where Reichert stands.
Either way, it will be a tough vote. Reichert’s district straddles the Cascades and fuses hearty chunks of liberal Seattle suburbia and red rural Washington. He’s received intense lobbying from constituents who want to see Obamacare preserved; but he’s also on the record saying he wants to see Obamacare repealed, no doubt an important promise to his Republican base.
The Times reports that if 23 or more Republicans vote against the bill, it will not pass; 16 Republicans, includeing Herrera Beutler, are already firm no’s.
Even if the bill passes, it will face serious opposition in the Senate; many health-care groups are coming out against it, citing its large cuts to Medicaid and its watered down protections for those with pre-existing conditions.