WASHINGTON ― Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) is one of the moderate Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who plans to vote against his party’s Obamacare replacement bill on Friday ― partly, he says, because the process of drafting the legislation has been too rushed.
Amodei said he hadn’t even had a chance to read the latest changes to the bill, which House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled on Thursday evening ahead of Friday’s vote.
“I’m going over to do that right now,” Amodei said in response to a question from The Huffington Post about whether he’d had a chance to read the new part. “When you talk about process, your question speaks for itself.”
The Republican health care bill introduced earlier this month would cut taxes for the rich and undo many reforms to the health care industry put in place by the Affordable Care Act seven years ago. It also drastically changes the way Medicaid provides health care coverage for poor Americans. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the bill would result in 24 million fewer Americans having insurance coverage.
Earlier this week, conservative Republicans won changes to the bill that would give states flexibility to add “work requirements” to Medicaid, among other things. And then Thursday night, Ryan announced yet more changes, including a provision that would eliminate federal standards for the basic benefits health insurance companies would have to cover, instead giving states the responsibility to regulate whether policies must include coverage of things like hospitalizations, prescription drugs and mental health. Republicans say the new provision would allow insurance companies to offer cheaper plans.
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), another moderate against the bill, also said he hadn’t seen the latest changes, though he didn’t like the sound of the health benefits provision.
“I’m sure it’s on my desk and I am going back to my office to read it,” Lance told reporters just off the House floor.
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, a bloc of Republicans that has resisted Ryan’s and President Donald Trump’s pleas to support the bill, also said he hadn’t fully read the new provision.
“I’m not all the way through it,” Yoho said. “My biggest concern is [the overall bill] leaves the structure, the skeleton of the Affordable Care Act. A future Congress is unlikely to allow these reforms to take effect.”
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), another Republican against the bill, said he didn’t consider Thursday night’s changes to be major, but he was still processing them.
For Amodei, it wasn’t just the last-minute changes he didn’t like ― it was the whole process, which only started a few weeks ago. The Affordable Care Act, by contrast, came about after more than a year of hearings and markups. The fate of the bill in the House is uncertain ahead of Friday afternoon’s vote, which is unusual for a major piece of legislation.
“The breadth of product you get when you get from going through a regular committee order process wasn’t achieved with listening sessions and workups only,” Amodei said. “There can be no better example of that than where we find ourselves today.”