All four Arkansas member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday (May 17) to repeal Obamacare. It is the 37th time the Republican-controlled body has voted to repeal the broad federal legislation that will vastly change U.S. health care delivery and payment.
With the U.S. Senate firmly controlled by Democrats, the repeal vote has never moved beyond the U.S. House vote.
The repeal vote passed the U.S. House with a 229-195 margin. U.S. Reps. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle; Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro; Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock; and Steve Womack, R-Rogers, voted for repeal.
In a statement, Cotton said the federal health care law expected to be more broadly implemented beginning in January 2014 will result in tax increases in and increases in health care premiums.
“Obamacare will cause insurance premiums to sky rocket by as much as 60-100 percent for Arkansas families,” Cotton said in his statement following the vote. “Obamacare is corrupt to its rotten core. The government has exempted hundreds of the president’s cronies from the law. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is right now shaking down private companies for millions of dollars to promote Obamacare.”
Womack said the law has already resulted in more than 20,000 pages of new rules that will prove to be an economic drain.
“This law will only continue to slow economic growth, result in job losses, and cause health care costs to skyrocket. Today, I proudly voted in favor of repealing Obamacare outright. Hardworking Americans deserve real health care reforms that lower costs, give access to coverage for everyone, and improve the quality of care – not this train wreck,” Womack noted in his statement.
Fueling the newest pure political move to repeal is recent revelations of political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service.
“And, of course, the IRS — expanded with 2,000 new agents — will be the main enforcement agency for Obamacare — the very IRS that we now know targets the president’s political opponents for harassment and intimidation,” Cotton said.
Politico reported that the House vote “couldn’t have come at a worse moment for the Obama administration, which is already trying to fight the narrative that its agencies won’t be able to implement the law’s enormous changes without big mistakes.”
The Politico story included comments from U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, a Republican from Pennsylvania and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. Pitts said he was concerned because the IRS would have access to Americans’ medical information.
“I don’t trust them,” he said.
Democratic leaders in the House are fighting the pushback against Obamacare. The Democratic National Congressional Campaign Committee is planning in the 2014 mid-term elections to target House members who they think are vulnerable.
David Simas, deputy senior advisor to President Barack Obama, said Thursday the House vote to repeal was a meaningless “gesture of protest.”
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean that 6.6 million young adults would lose the option of staying on their parent's health insurance,” Simas noted in an e-mail. “It would mean that 34.1 million seniors would pay more for preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies, and 18 million middle-class families lose the opportunity to save money on their monthly premiums starting in 2014. But this isn't about numbers; this is about our families's lives.”