A chorus of rage has spewed fourth after yesterday’s House vote on Trump’s proposed “repeal and replace” plan for Obama’s legacy healthcare policy and Congressmen from Virginia are among those who helped it pass.
The six Virginia members of the House who supported the bill are:
Dave Brat, Va.
Thomas Garrett, Va.
Bob Goodlatte, Va.
H. Morgan Griffith, Va.
Scott W. Taylor, Va.
Rob Wittman, Va.
Tom Garrett, who pushed for pot reform, took to cable news in the hours leading up to the ACHA vote to defend his “yes” vote by saying he didn’t read the bill and constituents* who protested at his local office and were concerned they would lose their healthcare “didn’t vote for him.”
Garrett (and Bratt) were among the 40 House Freedom Caucus members who opposed the original Trump/Ryan plan back in March saying it didn’t go far enough to curb the national debt.
But it appears a part of the new plan that allows states to opt out of parts of the law, as well as an alternative to guaranteed coverage that “mirrors the main concept for funding for care for folks with pre-existing conditions,” helped seal the deal this time around.
“You’ve got three to five percent of the population driving 40 to 60 percent of health care costs,” he told Bearing Drift in an interview ahead of Thursday’s vote.
As for Brat, it seems he was directly involved with Freedom Caucus and the Trump Admin’s negotiations – He told the Washington Times late last month that VP Pence came to the group to figure out specifics of a bill that the group could agree with.
Brat said Pence came with a “great compromise” and it included Garrett’s favorite part as well, allowing “the states to opt out of some of the regs.”
“This approach turns over control and decision-making authority to the states, rather than leaving Americans’ health care decisions to federal government bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.,” said Brat in a statement released late last week. “This improved bill also includes a key provision to ensure Members of Congress will have the same health care options as everyone else, with no preferential treatment.”
So what’s in the bill? We’re gonna go with the NPR folks for details on this because there is no bi-partisan Congressional Budget Office review of the document yet.
The bill would no longer require people to buy insurance through the marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, if they want to use federal tax credits to buy coverage. It also would eliminate the tax penalty for failing to have health insurance coverage, effectively doing away with that requirement altogether.
The House Republican plan would eliminate the income-based tax credits and subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act, replacing them with age-based tax credits ranging from $2,000 a year for people in their 20s to $4,000 a year for those older than 60.
The bill eliminates nearly all the taxes that were included in the Affordable Care Act to pay for the subsidies that help people buy insurance. Those cuts, which add up to about $592 billion, include a tax on incomes over $200,000 (or $250,000 for a married couple); a tax on health insurers and a limit on how much insurance companies can deduct for executive pay; and a tax on medical-device manufacturers.
The Republican plan would gradually roll back [Medicaid] expansion starting in 2019 by cutting the federal reimbursement to states for anyone who leaves the Medicaid rolls. People often cycle in and out of the program as their income fluctuates, so the result would likely be an ever-dwindling number of people covered.
The AHCA maintains protections for people with pre-existing conditions, with some important exceptions (see waivers, below). That means that someone with high medical expenses pays the same premium for the same policy as anyone else his age in his area.
[Editor’s note: The part below is what Garrett and Brat were really into]
States could apply for waivers that would allow insurance companies in their states to do three things: 1. Charge older people more than five times what they charge young people for the same policy; 2. Eliminate required coverage, called essential health benefits, including maternity care, mental health and prescription drugs, that were required under the Affordable Care Act; and 3. Charge more for or deny coverage to people who have pre-existing health conditions, such as cancer, diabetes or arthritis.
You really should listen to the NPR story here for more of a breakdown of the bill as we continue to wait for numbers from the CBO.
There were five Virginia Congress(wo)men who didn’t vote in support of the bill. They are seen below:
Gerald E. Connolly
Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
The Comstock vote is interesting because her district has remained Republican for some time, but she continues to oppose the bill.
“I did not support the AHCA today because of the many uncertainties in achieving those goals,” wrote Comstock after yesterday’s vote. “We have seen over the past year more bad news of skyrocketing premiums, rising deductibles, and fewer choices for millions of American families. The status quo is unsustainable and we need to find real solutions for the American people.”
As for Virginia Democrats who voted against the bill, they were upset in line with the rest of the party. Congressman Don McEachin (who reps parts of Richmond) pointed to the bill slashing as much as 30% of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding and no longer requiring contraceptive coverage and called it an “Attach on women’s rights and health.”
“By beginning the process of rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage policy and passing legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, the Republican leadership has shown a reckless and dangerous disregard for women’s health, and for their right to make deeply personal decisions free from government interference,” he said in a statement after yesterday’s vote. “Worse yet, eliminating these protections will have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable people who already face barriers to health care like low-income, rural, LGBTQ, and communities of color.”
*Editors note: this sentence could have been misinterpreted and has been updated for clarity.