A bill that would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, sent a clear message to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, members of the state’s congressional delegation said Tuesday.
The bill, House Resolution 596, passed by a 239-186 margin in the House. The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., had 98 cosponsors for the bill.
All four members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation – Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, French Hill, R-Little Rock, Steve Womack, R-Rogers and Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs – voted yes on the resolution.
In remarks made Tuesday before the House vote, President Obama chastised Congress for the planned move to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The President made his remarks during an “ACA Letter Writer Roundtable” held at the White House.
“It was maybe plausible to be opposed to the Affordable Care Act before it was implemented, but now it is being implemented and it is working. And people are being covered, just as anticipated. The premiums on average are less than $100 when you take into account the tax credit, so it is affordable for the people that it was designed to help. Health care inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years. The overall tab for the Affordable Care Act is costing less than the original projections,” Obama said. “In every respect, this is working not just as intended but better than intended. And so the notion that we would play politics with the lives of folks who are out there working hard every single day, trying to make ends meet, trying to look after their families, makes absolutely no sense. And that’s a message that I want to send very directly, today.”
ARKANSAS DELEGATION RESPONSE
Womack, who cosponsored the bill with Hill, said the Affordable Care Act has harmed businesses and individuals alike.
“Obamacare has increased costs for families and businesses alike, killed jobs, made full-time employment harder to find, and limited choice in and access to health care. Now that the law is fully implemented, it’s clear that this law is more of a train wreck than ever,” Womack said. “Americans deserve better, and they should be able to choose the health care plan they want, which doctors they see, and the costs they can afford instead of receiving directives from the federal government. I applaud the passage of this bill, which repeals Obamacare and paves the way for a serious, patient-centered alternative to replace it.”
Westerman, who previously served in the Arkansas House, said he believes families have been impacted as well.
“I am proud to follow through on a commitment I made to my fellow Arkansans: cast my vote to repeal to Obamacare. The president’s namesake law has been damaging to hardworking Arkansans, resulting in lost insurance, reduced hours, lost jobs, less access and, as many will find out soon if it is not repealed, higher tax bills,” Westerman said. “The people spoke in November. It remains to be seen whether President Obama will listen or instead choose to protect his legacy.”
Hill said a repeal is needed to provide the country with a clean slate from which to implement a better plan for health care.
“This is an opportunity to recognize the flaws of mandates and a top-down approach to health care, and allows us to finally consider ideas that will result in a health care system that empowers and encourages individuals to take control of and responsibility for their health care through the use of tools like health savings accounts and incentives that reward healthy behaviors,” Hill said in a statement.
The resolution now heads to the Senate for approval. However, if approved by the Senate, President Obama has vowed to veto any bill that would strip away the bill.
The resolution is one of several issues being discussed involving the law first approved in early 2010. One of the issues involving a case working its way through the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, King v. Burwell, involves taxes and the exchanges. The case is expected to be heard March 2 in Washington, D.C., with a ruling expected by late June.