DENVER (CBS4) – Republicans are celebrating the passage of a new health care bill through the House, but their fight to repeal and replace Obamacare is far from over.
The American Health Care Act now heads to the Senate, where republicans hold a much smaller advantage, and where many lawmakers are already promising to make big changes to the legislation.
With all Democrats and 20 Republicans opposing it, the bill passed Thursday by just four votes. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican who represents Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, was among those who voted against it, saying it simply does not do enough to protect people with preexisting conditions.
“I think we have preserve some of the consumer protections that are in the Affordable Care Act, such as preexisting conditions, which was my concern, and why I voted against the bill,” said Coffman. “I didn’t think the bill went far enough in preserving and protecting those.”
Under the new bill, states decide whether insurers can charge higher prices for people with preexisting conditions. They can also opt our of the ten required benefits in Obamacare.
Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat, says tens of millions of people will be impacted.
“Not only would this jeopardize insurance availability for the one-third of Americans who have preexisting conditions,” said DeGette, “it would let insurance companies deny coverage altogether for maternity, for emergency room, for mental health, and for other essential benefits.”
Other provisions in the bill include permitting insurers to charge 30% higher premiums for people who let coverage lapse, an $880 billion cut to Medicaid over ten years, fewer subsidies for low-income Americans, and a year-long ban on federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The bill keeps the caps on out-of-pocket costs.
Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican who represents Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, sits on the rules committee that heard debate on the bill and amendments.
“We’re seeing more and more insurers pull out of states and counties, we’ve got to do something to fix it. This bill isn’t perfect, but it is a large step toward repairing the damage that has been done by the Affordable Care Act,” said Buck.