Health Care bill passes in Congress - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Health Care bill passes in Congress

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KENNEWICK, WA - The health Care bill put in front of Congress this morning needed 216 votes to pass and it got 217, paving the way for the bill to be brought to the Senate for consideration. 

Reporter Rex Carlin learned that here in Washington out of the state's ten members in Congress, there was only one vote in support of the heath care bill.

All six Washington Congressional democrats voted no today, as did republicans Dave Reichert and Jaime Herrera Buetler. 

Representative Dan Newhouse did not attend the vote because he is tending to his wife's health issues.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers was the only Washington representative to vote yes today.

The bill would repeal the Obamacare mandate that someone must have health insurance or pay a tax penalty, and would eliminate the requirement that companies with less than 50 employees provide their workers' health insurance.

It would also repeal Obamacare subsidies starting in 2020, and replace them with tax credits based on age and income, and finally, it would give power to the states to get a waiver to allow insurance companies to charge people more if they have pre-existing conditions and a waiver of the federal requirement to cover ten essential health benefits.

It would also cut the two taxes for the wealthy that help pay for Obamacare.

Lawmakers from around the area reacted to the vote this afternoon. 

Democrats Patty Murray and Jay Inslee showed great concern after the vote passed, with Senator Murray saying the bill is headed for a dead-end in the Senate.

“I’m appalled by the action taken today in the House to jam Trumpcare through, regardless of the extraordinary harm it would do to patients and families,” Senator Murray said. “House Republicans just voted for an even worse version of the same Trumpcare bill that people across the country rejected only weeks ago. They voted to raise premiums and undo protections for people with pre-existing conditions, take coverage away from tens of millions of people, end Medicaid as we know it, cut off access to critical health care services at Planned Parenthood, and  more—all while giving insurance companies and the very wealthy massive tax breaks. They may think they delivered a political win for President Trump today, but let’s be clear: Trumpcare is headed straight to a dead-end here in the Senate, because women and families nationwide are going to fight back harder than ever against this disastrous bill and Democrats are going to be standing with them every step of the way.”

"Today is a shameful day in American history," Inslee said. "Republicans in Congress have voted to strip health care coverage from over 700,000 Washingtonians, and to remove the guarantee that all Americans cannot be denied coverage or charged more because they have a pre-existing condition. Their actions today threaten the health and financial security of millions of American families and undermine our health insurance markets, resulting in likely premium spikes. We have made great progress in Washington state's health care system through bipartisan work and support, yet Congress is now threatening to throw it all away in favor of poorly-conceived partisan legislation.

“I am proud that eight members of Washington's House delegation - two Republicans and all six Democrats - voted against this bill for the harm it would cause our state. I urge the United States Senate to reject the legislation passed today in the House, and I urge Washingtonians to continue making their voices heard as Congress considers taking our country in the wrong direction.”

Representative Newhouse showed support for the bill in a statement today, as did Representative McMorris Rodgers, who showed strong support for the bill in her statement.

“For years, I have been hearing from Central Washington families who lost insurance that they wanted to keep and are now paying more for health care due to the Affordable Care Act," said Newhouse. "Their stories of paying higher prices for insurance and higher deductibles with limited insurance options have been the reason I have voted in the past to repeal Obamacare along with its mandate and bureaucratic regulations. I strongly believe that every American deserves access to affordable health care, and the status quo under the ACA is not working. Because of my wife Carol’s health, I have largely remained by her side and was unable to be in D.C. for the vote on the AHCA. I am pleased the process to improve our health care system will continue with action by the Senate and further negotiations with the House. I will continue to work with my colleagues to keep my promise to reverse the burdens created by Obamacare and restore patient-centered health care.”

“Seven years ago, I stood on the floor of the House and watched Obamacare pass," McMorris Rodgers said. "I will never forget the feeling -- watching as, with each vote cast, the American people’s freedoms were slipping away. Republicans were powerless to stop the impending wave of expensive, burdensome policy. The already failing status quo in health care was about to get so much worse. Unfortunately, our biggest fears came true. Obamacare, though well-intentioned, failed its goals and failed in its promises. Since that moment, we’ve been on a rescue mission.

“Today is historic. With the American Health Care Act, the House voted to keep its promise to the American people: we’re going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a health care system that puts them -- not the federal government -- in control of their health care decisions. After marathon markups, listening to feedback from doctors and patients and advocates, and tough conversations with our colleagues, we came together to ensure this  bill that will improve lives. I’m very proud of our work, and of the leadership of my colleagues who have been working on these reforms for years.

“My top priority throughout this process has been protecting people with pre-existing conditions and giving them peace of mind to know that they have access to care. The American Health Care Act guarantees that access to health insurance coverage can’t be denied for people with pre-existing conditions, and empowers states to innovate with new models for better patient outcomes at a lower cost with the Patient and State Stability Fund.

“For the millions of Americans who have been struggling to find affordable, reliable health care coverage, or had one -- or no -- option in health care providers, this is a victory. Our work on reforms to the health care marketplace will continue. This was only one part of our three-part process to repeal and replace Obamacare. In parts two and three, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. will make reforms through his authority, and we will work on common sense reforms -- like being able to purchase insurance across state lines -- to help lower costs and increase access. We are committed to achieving a better health care future for every American.”

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