Latest GOP Defector Deals Heavy Blow to Health Care Bill

Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions remains key sticking point

Republicans’ efforts to scrap the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) have met fierce resistance about how they would affect people with pre-existing medical conditions, casting the proposal’s future into uncertainty, according to an article in the Washington Post.

On Capitol Hill, influential Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan) came out against the plan, dealing a major blow to proponents who are trying to secure enough votes to pass the bill in the House.

Upton voiced concerns about losing a core protection in the PPACA for people with pre-existing health conditions, which is possible under the latest GOP plan. Such worries have threatened to derail the revamped attempt to revise key parts of the PPACA—or at least send Republicans back to the drawing board, according to the Post.

In a radio interview, Upton, a former chairman and current member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he opposes the House GOP plan because it “torpedoes” safeguards for people with pre-existing conditions.

“I told the [Republican] leadership I cannot support the bill with this provision in it,” Upton said. “I don’t know how it all will play out, but I know there are a good number of us that have raised real red flags.”

A Washington Post analysis found that 21 House Republicans are either opposed to or leaning against the bill, and that 22 more are either undecided or unclear in their positions. If no Democrats support the bill, the Republicans can lose no more than 22 GOP votes to pass it in the House.

Meanwhile, President Trump continues to press congressional Republicans to act. Vice President Pence recently travelled to Capitol Hill again to coax legislators to support the bill, and Trump called lawmakers from the White House.

Representative Thomas J. Rooney (R-Florida), who supports the current plan, told reporters: “The most sincere anger I’ve noticed comes from people who are sincerely scared, people who may have a pre-existing condition who feel like they’re about to lose [coverage] and they’re going to die, and they’re going to die because of a vote that we might be taking. If we cannot explain to people that is not going to happen, then it is going to be very difficult to ever bring a bill to the floor.”

Source: The Washington Post; May 2, 2017.