Reps. Dave Reichert and Suzan DelBene stuck with their parties Thursday as a House committee passed legislation to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. Reichert voted with Republicans to advance the bill, while DelBene and her fellow Democrats opposed it.
Seattle-area Reps. Dave Reichert and Suzan DelBene stuck with their respective parties in Thursday’s predawn hours, as a Republican-backed bill to abolish large portions of former President Obama’s health-care law moved forward.
Reichert voted with his fellow Republicans to advance the bill through the House Ways and Means Committee, while DelBene sided with every Democrat in opposing it.
Reichert and DelBene are the only two Washington representatives who sit on the committee.
The bill passed out of committee at 4:30 a.m. Eastern time Thursday after 18 hours of debate and more than two dozen party-line votes on proposed amendments.
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The bill, as written, would lower taxes, particularly on higher-earning Americans, but health analysts say it would result in higher insurance costs for older, lower-income people and would mean a significant decrease in the number of people with insurance coverage.
“What my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have put forward would make working families, seniors, children and people with disabilities foot the bill for their poorly conceived experiment,” DelBene said in a news release. “Republicans are forcing people to pay more for less. This certainly isn’t ‘insurance for everybody,’ as the president promised.”
Reichert’s office did not release a statement on his vote.
Earlier this week he wrote that the bill “moves to a fairer system where families will finally have the freedom to choose a plan that best meets their needs — not Washington D.C.’s.”
Last month, in an interview with KCTS 9 before the legislation was released, Reichert said: “No one is going to lose coverage, let me just make that clear, again, no one will lose coverage.”
The legislation would defang the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone buy insurance by repealing the tax fines imposed on those who don’t. That penalty has been a stick aimed at pressing healthy people to purchase policies.
The bill would replace income-based subsidies ACA provided with tax credits based more on age, and insurers would charge higher premiums for customers who drop coverage for more than two months.