WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) is continuing to defend his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, and replacing it with the GOP-backed American Health Care Act (AHCA), or ‘Truumpcare’ as some critics have dubbed it.
During his weekly conference call with Media on Tuesday, Reed said he stands by the AHCA, saying the plan is better for the country, compared to ACA. He also responded to a question about the concerns that have been raised regarding AHCA, saying they stem from a lot of misinformation.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the bill and probably the biggest misinformation is the whole issue of preexisting condition reform being attacked by this legislation,” Reed said. “I can assure you, as a father of a type 1 diabetic and firmly in support of preexisting condition reform, the legislative text and the legislative interpretation that folks are trying to latch into in some theoretical situation where this risk is going to materialize is just false. It’s not going to materialize.”
Reed also said that many critics of the AHCA are against it for political reasons.
“I believe because it’s such a political issues, folks are going to engage in the politics and the rhetoric of healthcare and I understand that, I understand what their intentions are,” Reed said, adding, “But at the end of the day, I’m going to listen to the patients and I’m going to listen to the fact that the status quo can not be continued because it’s risking millions of Americans’ lives, so we have to deal with this healthcare situation in a proactive and positive step.”
The House’s amended version of the AHCA has yet to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), so there has yet to be an updated score on what kind of impact the amended legislation will actually have on the American people. WRFA asked Reed about the decision by House Republicans to move forward and hold a vote before the CBO released its findings.
“I did raise a voice and say we should wait until the complete score is done, but obviously the decision was made to go with the base score and I’m comfortable with that base score,” ,” Reed said. “I recognize the score when it comes to the 24 million folks that they estimate will lose coverage, but I also recognize the improvement in the premiums that bill shows. So overall that base score is something that I’m confident in, in regard to the CBO doing its job.”
And Reed said even if the House had waited for the updated CBO score on the revised legislation, there’s no guarantee how accurate it would have been.
“You look at where the CBO budget score was for the Affordable Care Act, where they said 22 million Americans would be gaining additional healthcare coverage under their score. But when we actually saw the numbers come out, it was actually 10 or 11 million. That tells me you have to have some common sense here. You have to get all the information that you can and then you have to make an informed decision when the legislation is before you,” Reed said.
The Senate still has to act on the AHCA legislation and it appears they will wait until the final CBO scores are released before moving on the legislation. The Senate will have the option of approving the same version the House approved – which would then move it on to the president for his signature. Or it could also amend the legislation, sending it back to the House for reconciliation before a final draft is agreed upon and both vote on it again before sending it to the president. There’s also the slim possibility the legislation will be defeated in the Senate, with 49 Democrats already against it, meaning only two Republicans would also have to vote against it in order for it to fail Senate approval.