A U.S. House vote has been delayed on whether to replace the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act.
Committed votes largely fell along partisan lines, with all area Democrats opposing the Obamacare replacement on the grounds that it will deprive the poor of coverage.
Some moderate and conservative Republicans are skittish as well. President Donald Trump met Thursday with conservative groups, such as the House Freedom Caucus, that have objected to the bill as not “aggressive” enough in undoing the ACA in an attempt to win over members of his party.
Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who have been rallying support for the bill, need 216 votes for it to pass the House.
Here’s how Republican in our region have said they will vote. [This story will be updated throughout the day as more information becomes available.]
Tom MacArthur (R- Burlington and Ocean counties)Vote: YESContext: After initially voting against repealing the ACA in January, MacArthur has decided to vote for the AHCA after changes to how it would handle Medicaid, according to reports by local news outlets.
Frank LoBiondo – (R- parts of eight South Jersey counties)Vote: NOContext: In a statement, LoBiondo said he supports and has voted in favor of repealing the ACA in the past. The AHCA, however, would cause “financial hardship” for too many South Jersey residents. “Simply put, this bill does not meet the standards of what was promised; it is not as good as or better than what we currently have,” he said.
Leonard Lance – (R-parts of six Central and North Jersey counties)Vote: NOContext: In mid-March, Lance announced he would not vote for the AHCA. Local news outlets report that he continues to hold that position, after town halls with angry constituents who oppose the bill and meetings with White House officials lobbying for his support.
Chris Smith – (R – Mercer, Monmouth, and Ocean counties)Vote: NOContext: According to NJ.com, Smith said Wednesday he would not support a bill that could hurt poor New Jerseyans.
Rodney Frelinghuysen – (R-Morris, Essex, Sussex and Passaic counties)Vote: UNKNOWNContext: Frelinghuysen is chair of the House Appropriations Committee, a powerful gatekeeper position for any budgetary bill. He said Wednesday, “While I’m concerned the current law, Obamacare, is failing … I’m not sold on the current version of the bill,” according to NorthJersey.com.
Ryan Costello – (R-Lebanon, Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties)Vote: UNKNOWNContext: Costello voted the bill through the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 9. In a statement on that vote, he mentions both support and the need for improvements to the bill. “I believe it is the appropriate framework through which to rein in health care costs and improve our health care system. I look forward to the forthcoming bicameral legislative process to make additional improvements to the legislation so that we can go about fixing our health care system.”
Pat Meehan – (R – Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Berks County, and Lancaster counties)Vote: UNKNOWNContext: Like Costello, Meehan voted for the AHCA in committee, as a member of the Ways and Means Committee. However, the Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that after the the Congressional Budget Office issued a report on the cost of the AHCA and the number of people who would lose coverage, that information gave Meehan pause, according to his spokesman.
Brian Fitzpatrick – (R-Bucks and Montgomery counties)Vote: NOContext: This week, the freshman congressman released a statement saying, “in its current form I cannot support this legislation,” citing concerns over how the plan would provide for those in opioid addiction recovery and treatment.
Charlie Dent – (R – Lehigh, Berks, Lebanon, Dauphin, and Northampton counties)Vote: NOContext: As late as Wednesday morning, Politico reports Dent criticized the speed at which the AHCA bill headed to a vote, criticizing the bill’s supporters’ “arbitrary deadlines.”
Lloyd Smucker – (R – Lancaster, Berks and Chester counties)Vote: YESContext: Smucker came out with a statement in support of the AHCA on March 7. “While more work needs to be done, the American Health Care Act is a good start to ensuring Pennsylvanians will have access to the care they need at a price they can afford,” he said.
The state of Delaware has one congresswoman, Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester, who has said the “GOP plan abandons seniors and Americans with disabilities who rely on Medicaid.”
Some from central Pennsylvania have also come out against the plan, including U.S. Reps. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson and Scott Perry, a member of the House Freedom Caucus.