Johnson votes for ACA repeal

Published 12:00 pm Friday, May 5, 2017

Effort faces tougher fight in Senate; Brown tweets about pre-existing conditions

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, voted with his party on Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The close vote in the chamber, 217-213, had all 193 Democrats opposing the effort, which would gut most provisions of the health care law, colloquially referred to as “Obamacare,” which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Most Republicans voted for the repeal, with 20 opposing and one not voting.

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“This is a great plan,” President Donald Trump said to Republicans following the vote. “I actually think it will get even better. This is a repeal and replace of Obamacare. Make no mistake about it.”

Johnson said the House had taken a “major step” toward its promise to repeal and replace the ACA.

“We are here today because many Americans experienced the broken promises of Obamacare – they saw their premiums skyrocket, lost access to their doctors, and lost the health care plans that worked for them,” Johnson said. “As we speak, many states and counties are down to one health care provider. Obamacare premiums continue to rise, and costs are out-of-control. The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which I voted in favor of, will maintain protections for people with pre-existing conditions, decrease the overall cost of health care coverage, and strengthen the health insurance market so that all Americans have more choices and greater access to affordable, quality healthcare. It’s a vast improvement over Obamacare that continues to unravel.”

Johnson disagreed with critics who said pre-existing conditions would not be covered under the bill.

“Nobody can be charged higher premiums if they keep their coverage,” Johnson said. “Under Obamacare, insurers are fleeing the marketplace, and at the current rate, those with AND without pre-existing conditions will lose their health insurance. Today, the House kept the promise to stop the collapse of Obamacare.”
Other Republicans from the region were spilt on the bill, with Rep. Brad Wenstrup, of Ohio, whose district borders Johnson’s, and Evan Jenkins, of West Virginia, voting in favor, while Thomas Massie, of Kentucky, opposed it.

Recent polling has shown that repeal of ACA is unpopular with voters, with 37 percent supporting the dismantling of the law, while 61 percent say it should be kept or fixed, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken April 17-20.

Democrats have seized on criticism of the Republican bill, The American Health Care Act, referring to it as “Trumpcare.” House Democrats broke out in a chant of the song “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” after the Republican effort passed, illustrating their willingness to run on the issue in their attempts to retake control of the chamber in 2018.

The repeal faces a tougher fight in the Senate, where it must achieve 60 votes to break a Democratic filibuster. Republicans currently hold 52 seats in the chamber.

Ohio’s Democratic U.S. senator, Sherrod Brown, was quick to condemn Republicans in a press release issued shortly after the vote, citing Republican Gov. John Kasich’s opposition to repeal.

“I agree with Governor Kasich: we cannot allow Washington politicians with taxpayer-funded health insurance to rip coverage away from Ohioans who are battling cancer, getting regular checkups for the first time or finally getting treatment for their opioid addiction,” Brown said. “This bill threatens the healthcare coverage of nearly 1 million Ohioans, including 200,000 currently battling addiction, and allows companies to jack up prices on people with preexisting conditions like asthma and diabetes. This bill is heartless, it is bad for Ohio, and it will leave real Ohioans struggling to afford care. Instead of taking care away, we should be working to reduce the price of prescription drugs and improve care for everyone.”

Brown spent Thursday morning, prior to the House vote, Tweeting out a list of preexisting conditions that he said would cost more for coverage under the Republican plan.

“So what is a pre-existing condition?” Brown wrote. “Let’s put it like this – you may pay more for healthcare under their plan if you’ve been affected by:”

He then proceeded to list, over 11 Tweets, alphabetically, dozens of examples, ranging from anxiety, acid reflux and AIDS/HIV to tooth disease, tuberculosis and ulcers.