WASHINGTON — Colorado U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman voted against the latest Republican health care plan on Thursday.
The health care measure to replace the Affordable Care Act passed along mostly party line votes, 217-213, with 20 Republicans voting no and no Democrats voting yes.
An 11th-hour amendment that helped seal missing GOP votes would add $8 billion over five years to fund high-risk pools and go toward patients with pre-existing conditions in states that seek waivers under the Republican legislation. The legislation already included $130 billion in the fund.
“At this time, I cannot support the AHCA with the MacArthur amendment because I’m concerned that a small percentage of those with preexisting conditions may still not be protected,” the Aurora Republican said in a statement ahead of the vote.
“This does not take away from the fact that the Affordable Care Act is failing and American families are hurting. In my conversations with House leadership and the administration over the last 72 hours, I made it clear that additional language was necessary to protect this vulnerable group.
“And I’m sympathetic to leadership’s challenge — getting 216 votes in this highly polarized political environment isn’t easy. Also, as I have stated in the past, I’m certainly not going to vote on a bill of this magnitude that hasn’t been fully scored by the Congressional Budget Office and whose estimated price tag is unknown.”
The health care bill would eliminate Obamacare taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others, and get rid of the individual mandate imposed by the Affordable Care Act.
Instead of the Obamacare subsidies that are tied to income and premiums, the GOP plan would provide Americans with refundable tax credits based mainly on age to purchase health insurance.
The legislation would also allow insurers to charge higher premiums to those in their 50s and early 60s, compared to younger consumers.
It would also significantly curtail federal support for Medicaid and allow states to require able-bodied adults to work.
After 2020, states that expanded Medicaid would no longer receive enhanced federal funding to cover low-income adults, and those that hadn’t expanded would be immediately barred from doing so.
And it would allow states to relax some key Obamacare protections of those with pre-existing conditions, which are among the health reform law’s most popular provisions.
States could apply for waivers to allow insurers to offer skimpier policies that don’t cover the 10 essential health benefits mandated by Obamacare.
Also, insurers would be able to charge higher premiums to those with medical issues if they let their coverage lapse. States requesting waivers would have to set up programs — such as high-risk pools — to protect insurers from high-cost patients.
The GOP bill doesn’t touch one another beloved piece of Obamacare — letting children stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26.