A GOP congressman who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a controversial Republican plan said Thursday that nobody had actually read the entire text of the legislation.
“I don’t think any individual has read the whole bill,” Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) said on MSNBC. “That’s why we have staff.”
The comments came just hours before the House passed the American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare.
GOP lawmakers have come under fire for attempting to rush the bill to the floor without allowing for proper scrutiny. The amended text of the AHCA, which Republicans had previously lauded for its brevity, wasn’t made public until Wednesday night. The Congressional Budget Office has still not evaluated the measure to determine how much it would cost and what it would do to the health care system. And from what we do know, the GOP’s pitch for the AHCA has relied heavily on pledges that will be impossible to deliver on.
Garrett’s candid admission could prove to haunt Republicans, who opposed a vote on the Affordable Care Act in 2010 by accusing Democrats of ramming the legislation through without actually knowing what was in the bill.
In 2010, before the House voted on the ACA, then-GOP Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) took to the floor to lambaste the legislative process.
“Have you read the bill? Have you read the reconciliation bill? Have you read the manager’s amendment? Hell no, you haven’t!” he said.
Well, at least Garrett doesn’t seem to be alone.
Garrett, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, had opposed a previous version of the AHCA, which flamed out in March. At the time, constituents and health care providers criticized Republicans for failing to be transparent about the legislation. They also expressed concern over estimates that found tens of millions would lose coverage under the proposal.
In an interview with a conservative blog this week, Garrett said he’d changed his mind about the AHCA because Republican leaders had “injected the federalist element” into the new legislation. This appealed to him because, as he put it, he likes to “stand up and wax poetic about federalism all the time.”
With Garrett's help, the bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces a much more difficult path to passage.