After he and 216 other House Republicans voted Thursday to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and replace it with the abominable American Health Care Act, Congressman Goodlatte issued a statement claiming that “Obamacare is collapsing” and that the AHCA would give patients “more options.”
There is no question that Republican-induced uncertainty over the fate of the ACA is causing problems with the law. Goodlatte cited a report that Aetna is leaving the ACA marketplace in Virginia.
But Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine pointed out that the problems with the ACA can be fixed without repealing the law and replacing it with an ill-thought-out plan which would deprive tens of millions of Americans of affordable health insurance:
Aetna’s decision to leave the Virginia marketplace in 2018 shows the real-life consequences of President Trump playing politics with health care and unfortunately Virginians will be the ones paying the price for his actions. This week, Aetna’s CEO pointed directly to the Trump Administration’s threat to eliminate cost-sharing reductions as a move that put too much uncertainty into the system. He said he believes it’s time to admit that the ACA needs to be fixed, not repealed.
Finally, Goodlatte stretched the truth to the breaking point when he claimed:
[U]nder the AHCA no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. In fact, new protections are included in the AHCA for these individuals.
The Politifact website rates this claim as Mostly False. Under the AHCA, millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions could be forced to pay much higher premiums and forced into dubious “high risk pools” in order to obtain health insurance. Simply put, insurance companies would once again be allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
Even some Republicans who voted for the bill recognized that it wasn’t much good.
“This bill is highly imperfect, imperfect, okay? There’s no doubt about that,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said after supporting the legislation.
The Florida Republican — who represents a competitive district — waited until the last 24 hours to come on board. He cited conversations with senators who vowed to address his concerns about how to handle the tens of thousands of his constituents who are signed up for the ACA insurance exchanges.
“Is this bill good? No, I don’t like it,” Diaz-Balart said. But he suggested that voting for the bill would allow him to be part of future negotiations: “So my decision was, how do I stay involved?”
But Goodlatte tweeted:
Proud to support in the House today.
The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release next week its report on the real-life impact of the AHCA in terms of insurance coverage and costs. For some reason, Goodlatte and his Republican colleagues couldn’t even wait for that before they voted. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say– or more likely, doesn’t have to say– when the report comes out.