Roby to fellow lawmakers: Time to repeal Obamacare

Published 3:00 am Thursday, March 23, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote today on Speaker Paul Ryan’s proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Republican leaders have been working to drum up enough votes for the bill as some GOP lawmakers have opposed the plan.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Alabama, was one of the lawmakers advocating for the GOP to come together behind the bill.

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“I’ve heard from countless constituents negatively impacted by Obamacare,” Roby said on the House floor. “I’ve listened to their stories about how higher costs and fewer choices have made it that much harder to keep their families healthy and make ends meet.

“With the American Health Care Act, we begin the process of repealing Obamacare once and for all. This bill dismantles the taxes, mandates, and entitlement spending that make up the core of Obamacare.

“It cuts taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, insurance premiums, and medical devices. It eliminates the individual and employer mandate penalties that have forced millions into expensive, inadequate plans. It replaces the Obamacare entitlement with refundable tax credits so that people who don’t receive insurance through work can put their own tax dollars toward a health plan of their choice.”

Roby addressed the concern of some GOP lawmakers that the bill is not the full repeal promised to the American taxpayers.

“For the last several years, Americans have been sold the false hope that the government has a magic wand with which it can quickly solve all their problems,” Roby said. “The truth is, of course, that it can’t. It never can. And the only proof you need is Obamacare itself …

“Instead of one giant bill like Obamacare, we are using a more responsible, three-step process. First, we’ll repeal Obamacare with all its taxes, mandates and spending through budget reconciliation. Next, the Trump Administration will use its executive authority to weed out the more intricate Obamacare policies one-by-one to stabilize the market and lower costs. And finally, Congress will move forward with legislation addressing more specific policies, such as allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines.”

Many conservatives remained dug in against the measure, insisting it must repeal the law’s requirements that insurers pay for specified services like maternity care and cover all comers, including the sickest. They say those provisions must die because they drive up premiums.

“There’s not enough votes to pass it tomorrow,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., leader of the House Freedom Caucus, the hard-line group that has spearheaded opposition to the GOP bill. Most of the group’s roughly three dozen members seemed opposed to the legislation, more than enough to defeat it.

Republicans face an even tougher fight in the Senate, which they control by just 52-48. Six GOP senators have already said they oppose the legislation, enough to sink it without changes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.