Every Florida Republican in the U.S. House except for one voted Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan that could leave more than 24 million Americans uninsured.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami was one of 20 Republicans who joined with all House Democrats to oppose the measure in a close 217-213 vote. In a statement before the vote, Ros-Lehtinen says the Republican replacement for Obamacare fails to provide for the needs of her constituents.
"I will not support a bill that has the potential to severely harm the health and lives of people in South Florida and therefore I remain steadfast in my commitment to vote NO on the AHCA," she said in a statement. "The recent addition of further funds to high risk pools continues to be inadequate and fails to cover those who need it most. If enacted, the older and poorer South Floridians will be worse off and will find it more difficult to obtain quality healthcare. My constituents should not have to take a step backward in their ability to obtain treatment for any illness."
Aside from potentially leaving millions without health insurance, the American Health Care Act has been criticized for gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions and being a "poorly disguised" $346 billion tax cut for the rich, according to the Los Angeles Times
. The bill could have a particularly devastating effect on Florida, which saw a record
number of its residents sign up for Obamacare last year.
Central Florida Republican Rep. Daniel Webster said he voted to "end the nightmare" of Obamacare.
"For six years, I have been an advocate for repealing the failed Obamacare and replacing it with real healthcare reform," Webster said in a statement. "ACA is collapsing across the country – currently 4.7 million people are without an insurer. This failed policy is raising costs for patients and forcing insurers out of the marketplace, which leaves patients and families with nowhere to go."
Rep. Bill Posey, another Republican from Central Florida, said the measure "reverses the downward spiral of Obamacare."
"For many years health insurance costs have been skyrocketing and today we have taken a big step toward addressing this problem while keeping intact core protections for those Americans with pre-existing health conditions, ensuring sick people do not lose their coverage, and allowing young people to stay on parents’ policies," Posey said. "For many Americans, Obamacare has resulted in more expensive health insurance plans with fewer options. This cannot continue and it’s unfair to expect workers and families to pay thousands a month in premiums with no other choices and no relief in sight."
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Winter Park, who voted against bill, says virtually all patient advocates, physicians, hospitals, and independent health care experts opposed the move.
"TrumpCare takes health care away from 24 million Americans, while the rest of us pay more for fewer benefits," she said in a statement. "Older Americans will be especially hurt, and people with pre-existing conditions will be put at risk. This bill offends my conscience and hurts my constituents, and so I voted no. I want every American to have access to quality, affordable health care, but this bill falls far short of that goal. We should work in a bipartisan way to strengthen what works in the Affordable Care Act and fix what doesn’t – not dismantle our health care system with a hyper-partisan bill negotiated behind closed doors and passed without a single public hearing or cost analysis.