WASHINGTON -- Republicans are claiming a triumph by pushing their legislative centerpiece scuttling much of the nation's health care law through the House. It was a perilous journey, and its Senate pathway will be at least as bumpy with little doubt the measure will change, assuming it survives.
Thursday's 217-213 House passage -- with 20 GOP defections -- was preceded by several near-death experiences for the legislation, even though repealing Obama's statute helped guide Donald Trump's presidential run and multitudes of GOP congressional campaigns.
Here's what Portage County's three representatives say about the law.
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, voted no: "The Republican vote today to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with Trumpcare will have devastating consequences for hard working families, and is an absolute betrayal of everything we stand for as Americans. 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 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."
Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Russell Township, voted no: "The AHCA does not do enough to bring down the cost of healthcare delivery. The idea that premiums could potentially skyrocket for people with pre-existing conditions and increase 3 to 5 times for people nearing retirement is something I find unacceptable. Another take away is how this bill would adversely affect the progress we have made to combat our opioid crisis. Our state leads the nation in opioid deaths. This bill threatens our essential health care benefits, including opioid addiction treatment. These issues are not amenable to a quick fix. We need to take the time necessary to hold hearings and work together on a step by step basis to develop a long term solution that works for everyone. I will always keep an open mind on working to repeal the federal government-controlled healthcare system and replace it with a patient centered bill that has real reforms and makes health care more accessible and affordable to all Ohio families."
Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, voted yes: Yesterday, I took the first step in fulfilling a promise I made to the 16th District and was elected on: repealing and replacing Obamacare with a more patient-centered, affordable, and flexible health care system. Ohioans are suffering under Obamacare. Premiums have risen over 90 percent since 2013, deductibles are skyrocketing, and insurers are running for the door in the exchanges.Please understand that there is alot of misinformation out there and the AHCA does not allow insurers to discriminate against people because of their gender and pre-existing conditions, and no one can be denied coverage. The bill is now in the Senate's hands, where it will undergo more changes before its passed into law. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the other chamber on producing the strongest legislation possible to make healthcare accessible and affordable for all Americans.
Senate Republicans wasted no time on Friday showing they have little use for the House bill to repeal and replace Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act amid fears among Americans that people already sick won't be able to get affordable insurance.
"At this point, there seem to be more questions than answers about its consequences," said moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, whose vote may prove one of the hardest to get for President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
"I don't support the House bill as currently constructed," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. "I continue to have concerns that this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio's Medicaid expansion population."
And Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said over Twitter: "A bill -- finalized yesterday, has not been scored, amendments not allowed, and 3 hours final debate -- should be viewed with caution."