Alabama lawmakers react to cancelled health care repeal vote

Published 12:40 am Saturday, March 25, 2017

Members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation had mixed reactions after a planned vote on the American Health Care Act was pulled from consideration.

The bill would have altered the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Republicans, who authored the bill, cancelled the vote after it appeared they would not have the necessary votes to pass it.

  1. S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, called the setback ad “missed opportunity”

“The American people gave Republicans a tremendous opportunity to deliver results on their behalf. Our Republican majority’s failure to rally around this priority and keep good faith on the promise we made is disappointing to say the least,” Roby said. “Today I was prepared to keep my promise and vote ‘yes,’ and I am disheartened that I did not have the chance to be a voice for the people I serve.”

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, said, “The problems with Obamacare are not going away. This law is imploding before our eyes, and action will ultimately be required. President Trump and Speaker Ryan worked hard to get this bill across the finish line, and I supported them 100 percent. But our efforts came up just short.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Sake, agreed.

“This vote was very simple to understand – Obamacare does not work, and it will never get better. The choice was clear – support President Trump and this bill to repeal and replace the disastrous law or support keeping Obamacare,” Rogers said.

But not all in the delegation though the bill was good. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, caucused with the 21 Republicans who argued the AHCA did not go far enough, and was a frequent guest on national news shows as the vote approached.

“As much as I would like to vote with many of my Republican colleagues in Congress and in the White House (most of whom privately tell me they dislike the bad policy in this bill), I will vote against the American Health Care Act because it has more bad policy than any bill I have ever faced,” Brooks said. “ I simply cannot, and will not, vote for bad legislation that hurts so many Americans solely because Washington friends and colleagues ask me to. “

Brooks said the bill has many major flaws, adding that the biggest one is that insurance premiums will increase by 15 to 20 percent.

Secondly, he said, “ObamaCare 2.0,” as he dubbed the act, “is the largest Republican welfare program in history.”

“O bamaCare 2.0 was introduced just two weeks ago.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, 2 ObamaCare 2.0 financial projections worsened by $187 billion in just two weeks (from the original version to this week’s) as Congressional politicians scrambled to promise more and more welfare to placate the imagined demands of projected welfare recipients,” Brooks said. “ This two-week political dynamic is a microcosm of how anxious candidates and politicians will scramble to spend more and more welfare money that America does not have and must either borrow or raise taxes to get.”

Rep. Garry Palmer, R-Hoover, had planned to vote for the bill, but said Friday afternoon he believes pulling the bill was the right call.

“Working together we can still pass a bill that allows Americans to access the doctors they want, decide the coverage they need, and lower their healthcare expenses,” Palmer said.

The only Democrat in the delegation, Rep. Terri Sewell of Birmingham, called Friday’s activity a victory, tweeting, “BIG NEWS: House leadership just pulled #TrumpCare off the floor, victory for millions who get to keep their coverage.”