Reaction to AHCA passage along party lines

By Tad Johnson

Sun Post Review

Reaction to the May 4 approval of the American Health Care Act in the U.S. House has gone along party lines, much like the vote did.

U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, a Republican who was elected in the 2nd District this fall, said: “Last year, I promised the people of the 2nd District that I would promote real health care reform that works for their families. I’m keeping that promise.

“Obamacare is continuing to collapse. The American Health Care Act’s much-needed relief includes lower premiums, universal access, and greater patient choice. We also continue the important missions of protecting the vulnerable and ensuring that no-one can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.

“I’ll keep working to make quality, accessible health care a reality for families in Minnesota.”

Lewis was among the all Republican Minnesota House members to vote for the bill, while all of Minnesota’s DFL House members voted against it.

The measure passed 217 to 212 with no Democratic support and 20 Republicans voting no.

The 2nd District DFL Party tweeted out on its Twitter account: “And the GOP claims it’s the party of ‘fiscal responsibility’ and ‘family values,’ ” citing the bill did not have a public hearing or an updated score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The nonprofit Twin Cities interfaith coalition ISAIAH said a press release after the vote that this is a time for public lament.

“This inhumane bill destroys the health care of 24 million people, steals $880 billion from Medicaid, threatening the health and even the very lives of many in our nation. Nearly half of all births in the nation are covered by Medicaid, and 60 percent of nursing home beds. Every American’s health care will be affected if this bill is made the law of the land, but people of color, children, the elderly and disabled will be disproportionately affected. Moreover, everyone with pre-existing conditions – whether it be cancer or simply having given birth through C-section – will be in danger of losing access to health care. Rep. Erik Paulsen and Rep. Lewis both previously gave assurances they would protect pre-existing conditions, so their reversal on that position is particularly noteworthy.”

Gov. Mark Dayton told the media after the vote that Minnesota will not opt out of covering people entering the health care market with pre-existing conditions.

A CNN analysis of the bill said “it would make it harder for people to buy comprehensive coverage and weaken the protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The bill would provide $138 billion through 2026 to help states and insurers lower premiums and set up high-risk pools to cover those with pre-existing conditions.”

More on that analysis is at http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/04/news/economy/obamacare-republican-health-care/index.html.

ISAIAH has organized thousands of people to call, write and visit congressional representatives, including an hour-long stop at Lewis’ Burnsville office in April prior to what was expected to be the first vote on the AHCA.

That vote never materialized. The bill was revamped and its next stop is consideration by the U.S. Senate.