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Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

Representing the 5th District of Connecticut


CT lawmakers react after House passes Republican health care bill

May 4, 2017
In The News

Connecticut lawmakers reacted after the United States House of Representatives passed the Republican health care bill on Thursday afternoon.

This vote comes six weeks after the GOP's first failed attempt at pushing their prized health care bill forward.

The measure skirted through the House by a thin 217-213 vote, as all voting Democrats and a group of mostly moderate Republican holdouts, voted no. Now that the bill passed the House, it heads to the Senate. 

This legislation has been revamped since collapsing a little more than one month ago in a final tweak, the GOP added $8 billion to help people with pre-existing medical conditions afford coverage.

President Donald Trump hailed the House's passage of health care bill and said he's "so confident" legislation will pass the Senate.

"This is a great plan. I actually think it will get even better," Trump said.

Some are concerned with how the new plan would impact their medical care.

"I just retired so I'm concerned how it will effect medicare," said Robert Kachnic, of West Hartford.

While democrats argued Obamacare brought coverage to 20 million uninsured, republicans argued it was too expensive.

"Now is that piece of legislation perfect? No, but it doesn't mean we should throw the baby out with the bath water,” said Quinnipiac University Professor Angela Mattie.

The republican proposal would eliminate tax penalties on those who don't buy coverage, while also cutting the Medicaid program for low-income people and letting state's impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients.

It would retain the Obamacare requirement allowing children to stay on their family's policy until they're 26.

"I'm very concerned about what's going to happen to millions of people who rely on Obamacare for pre-existing conditions,” said Heather Santoro, of Canton.

That's because states would be able to get waivers, freeing up insurers from Obama coverage requirements, meaning they could charge people with pre-existing illnesses higher rates than healthy customers.

"That goes against the principles of insurance, you need to spread the risk, you can’t take those individuals with significant problems, and pre-existing conditions and put them separately in a pool, and the $8 billion negotiated at the White House is not enough to cover, what is predicted for the high-risk pool,” Mattie said.

U.S Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, argued that the passage of this bill would "end insurance for 24 million and make insurance totally unaffordable for anybody with a pre-existing condition." 

"That's an abomination. This is not a health care bill - it's a tax cut for millionaires that's paid for by taking insurance away from the sick and jacking up prices for the healthy. Virtually no one in America wants this bill - it polls at about 18% - and the Senate should bury it before it ever gets to our door," Murphy said in a statement on Thursday.

Murphy went on to say that the current health care system "has problems, but those won't be solved by ripping insurance away from people who need it to live."

"I'll work with anyone who's willing to make sure this never gets to the president's desk so that we can have a bipartisan process that preserves what works in the Affordable Care Act and fixes what needs improvement," Murphy said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called the vote "appalling."

"This action is a grave disservice to the people of our nation and undermines the core mission of the Affordable Care Act.  The fact remains - Trumpcare threatens coverage for some of our most vulnerable populations, including seniors, persons with disabilities, and all Americans with pre-existing conditions.  Our collective concern should be about stabilizing the marketplace and increasing access for all individuals to quality healthcare.  The only thing that this proposal accomplishes is ensuring that when it comes to healthcare, Americans pay more for less," Malloy said in a statement on Thursday.

U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth H. Esty said the House vote inflicts "deep, long-lasting harm on millions of American families for the sake of short-term political relief."

"This dishonest crusade against the Affordable Care Act has put politics before American lives. Under this bill, people with pre-existing conditions will lose the protection they have against bankrupting medical bills. People who are struggling with addiction or mental illness will likely not get the vital care they need. Some parents will be forced to make the gut-wrenching choice between keeping their life savings and keeping their child alive," Esty said in a statement on Thursday.

Esty also said the Affordable Care Act "has problems that we need to work together to fix."

"The bill the House just passed solves none of these problems. But there is still time for my colleagues who have supported this moral and economic disgrace to find their courage and change course. I am ready and willing to work with them in a bipartisan way to reduce premiums, lower drug prices, expand access to care, and do the work our constituents sent us here to do," Esty said in a statement on Thursday.

U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney said the Republican health care bill "weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions and dismantles requirements that health insurance plans must cover maternity care, mental health services, addiction treatment, emergency room care, and bans on lifetime limits for coverage, just to name a few." 

"The bill still raids the Medicare trust fund, rolls back Medicaid, and raises premiums on Americans over the age of 50," Courtney said in a statement on Thursday. "For those who frustrated with weaknesses in the existing law - this bill does nothing to address those and in fact greatly exacerbates them. I implore the Senate to scuttle this deeply flawed measure and give us the opportunity to enact real fixes to the healthcare system that Congress can consider on a bipartisan basis."