Local lawmakers weigh in on health care plan

Here in the bi-state, support and criticism is falling mostly along party lines.

The political fight over the new Republican plan to replace Obamacare is growing.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget office forecasts the plan would insure 24-million fewer people in the next decade. The White House is pushing back calling this measure the first in a three-part process.

"This is it," said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. "If we don't get this through, the goal of repealing Obamacare and instituting a system that will be patient centered will be unbelievably difficult."

The Republican plan would freeze the expansion of Medicaid which has millions of Americans concerned. It also replaced direct subsidies to buy insurance with tax credits.

And the plan is driving a divide in Congress and even within the Republican party across the country, but here in the bi-state, support and criticism are falling mostly along party lines. 

Democrats citing longs lists of flaws they see in what they are calling "Trumpcare." While local Republicans are criticizing "Obamacare" as a law so bad that changes have to be made.

"When the AARP comes out and says that this is bad for American's over the age of 50 you have to pay attention," said Illinois Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth says older, working class Americans are the people with the most to lose under the proposed Republican replacement for Obamacare.

"If you are a working class American between ages 50 and 65 you're probably going to lose your health coverage or find that it grows so exponentially that you can no longer afford it," said Duckworth in an interview with 5 On Your Side from the U.S. Capitol.

And the Democrat predicts cuts to medicaid in the plan could either further bankrupt Illinois or cause some of the most vulnerable to be kicked off their coverage.

"What Democrats don't tell you is that there's already planned cuts to federal reimbursements in next two years under the existing law," says Illinois Republican congressman Rodney Davis who went on to say the Republican plan would create solutions through less federal regulation.

"So states like Illinois can come up with innovative approaches that are going to provide better care in a more cost effective way. And that's what the states do," Davis says.

A philosophy echoed on the Missouri side by Republican Senator Roy Blunt who says in 97 Missouri counties people have only one insurance option when using Obamacare. And by next year he says those counties may have even fewer options.

In a statement Blunt said, "Obamacare is collapsing under its own weight...something has to be done to restore patient-centered choices."

Missouri Democratic Congressman Lacy Clay says the more than 225,000 Missourians who currently receive financial assistance to purchase health insurance may not be able to afford coverage under the new plan.

In a statement, Clay said Republicans are in "a huge rush to force this poisonous prescription down the throats of the American people...Trumpcare will make America sicker, not stronger"

One thing both Democrats and Republicans seemed to agree on is that the bill as it stands now will not be the final version.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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