House Republicans are racing to hold a vote on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, but some members of their party still aren’t convinced. One of them, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), released a blistering statement Thursday, warning that the bill could “severely harm the health” of her constituents.
Ros-Lehtinen is one of about 20 House Republicans who came out against the latest iteration of the GOP bill, known as the American Health Care Act, over the past week. Among their concerns: The proposal would slash Medicaid funding and allow states to opt out of a popular Obamacare provision barring insurers from charging more for patients with preexisting medical conditions.
On Wednesday, Republicans drafted an amendment that would provide some additional funding to help people with preexisting conditions who might otherwise be priced out of coverage under the GOP bill. That amendment seems to have won over some of the wavering Republicans—but not Ros-Lehtinen. “Despite amendment, the AHCA still fails to provide for the needs of my constituents,” Lehtinen said in her statement. “I will not support a bill that has the potential to severely harm the health and lives of people in South Florida, and therefore I remain steadfast in my commitment to vote NO on the AHCA.”
She continued by saying the plan would hurt the older and poorer residents living in her district. “If enacted, the older and poorer South Floridians will be worse off and will find it more difficult to obtain quality health care.”
Lehtinen’s harsh words come just days after she announced she would not seek another term. She struck a bipartisan tone in a press conference Monday announcing her upcoming retirement from Congress, saying that while she is a proud Republican, she believes “good ideas comes from Democrats” as well.
The vote, which was announced late Wednesday, will be the GOP’s second attempt to pass its replacement plan. Party leaders pulled an earlier version of the legislation from the floor in March when it became clear they did not have enough support.
Democratic lawmakers and a handful of Republicans have slammed House leaders for trying to rush through the bill. There have been no public hearings on the latest version of the legislation, and the Congressional Budget Office has not been given a chance to issue projections about how much the legislation will cost, how many people will lose their insurance, or what will happen to the price of coverage. (The CBO estimated that under an earlier version of the bill, 24 million fewer people would be insured.)
As of Thursday morning, confusion abounded over what exactly was in the legislation.
Fun to discover new “little noticed” provisions of a bill that could affect millions a few hour before they vote. Like Christmas morning!
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) May 4, 2017
The head-spinning effort to pass the bill comes eight years after Republicans decried what they viewed as insufficient time to review Obamacare before that legislation went to a vote. Here’s a 2009 clip of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), now the speaker of the House, opposing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law:
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) May 4, 2017