Talk about toeing the party line.
In an emailed press release still hot in the NonDoc inbox, Gov. Mary Fallin this afternoon expressed her pleasure in the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of House Resolution 1628, aka the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Below is her emailed statement in its entirety:
I’m pleased that the U.S. House has passed the American Health Care Act, which repeals and replaces Obamacare. Our current health care system is collapsing, threatening to leave people across the country without access to health care coverage. Health insurance has become unaffordable. Obamacare has driven health insurance companies out of the market, and Oklahoma is down to only one insurance carrier on the federal exchange.
Reforming the system is the only way to provide access to affordable and quality health care. I am working closely with my fellow governors to ensure the concerns and voices of Oklahomans are heard. Now it is up to the Senate to act and ensure our fellow Oklahomans, and Americans across the country, are able to access quality, affordable health care.
Her remarks reinforce the partisan division surrounding the U.S. health care system in light of the fact that not one Democratic U.S. Representative voted for the AHCA today.
Meanwhile, only 20 Republicans out of the 238 currently in Washington dared to defy President Donald Trump, who had made the repeal and replacement of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) a campaign promise. (Spoiler alert 1: All of Oklahoma’s conservative U.S. Reps voted in favor of the bill.)
Tens of millions expected to lose care under AHCA
Vox.com has spent today and much of the past week examining the ins and outs of the AHCA. The site currently offers a trove of information about what exactly the AHCA includes. It lists winners and losers (spoiler alert 2: rich people win, most others lose) and details the GOP’s sudden about-face today in removing Obamacare holdovers for themselves.
A good Vox article for Fallin to consider before publicly praising the House’s work would have been this one from today, which highlights those who would suffer most, including:
- the working poor who gained Medicaid under Obamacare
- senior citizens and disabled people who got Medicaid before Obamacare
- States (like Oklahoma) suffering from an epidemic of opioid abuse
- states that might take Medicaid “block grants”
- pregnant women and new mothers
- those living with pre-existing conditions
- families that deal with chronic ailments
- poor people who lack Medicaid
- the elderly in general
- children who have been placed in special-education programs
- patients of Planned Parenthood locations
Sky not falling … yet
So while the House GOP and their regional counterparts pat each other on the back and purportedly haul in cases of Bud Light to celebrate, the bill remains far from becoming U.S. law. As you might remember from Schoolhouse Rock, the AHCA now moves over to the U.S. Senate.
Going back to Vox, there are at least three reasons why passing AHCA through the Senate will be no cake walk. Namely, Republican Senators have already criticized the bill’s Medicaid changes; the changes to private insurers don’t exactly thrill some of them, either; and Trump’s much-publicized campaign promise will be unlikely to fly through unless Senate GOPers get something in return.