Virginia lawmakers on House passage of GOP health care bill

President Donald Trump gestures in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 4, 2017, before signing an executive order aimed at easing an IRS rule limiting political activity for churches. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON, D.C.(WAVY) – Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The legislation now heads to the Senate.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions Committee, released the following statement on the bill’s passing:

President Trump promised the American public that no one would lose coverage under his health bill, those with pre-existing conditions would be protected, and no one would be worse off. Today the House rushed the TrumpCare bill through without waiting to hear how many millions of people would lose health insurance and protections for pre-existing conditions, how high premiums would go up for seniors and how much the deficit would explode. If they cared about health care, they would care about how this bill affects people’s health. But what they care about is giving a massive tax break to the wealthiest, paid for by slashing health care for everyday people.

The Senate should put this bill into committee, let the CBO study it, hold hearings to hear from doctors and patients and engage in a meaningful bipartisan effort to improve health care. And we should never accept a bill that causes people to lose coverage or pay more. That’s what the President promised and we need to hold him accountable for it.”

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Finance and Budget Committees, released this statement following the vote:

Instead of working with Democrats to improve the Affordable Care Act, today Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to take away healthcare coverage from millions of Americans. This bill would raise costs for seniors, hang 3.4 million Virginians with preexisting conditions out to dry, and shift hundreds of millions of dollars in costs for Medicaid services to states, impacting care for pregnant women, seniors and the disabled.

“This was a bad bill a month ago, and it’s a worse bill now. I will fight tooth and nail to keep it from passing the Senate.”

Just prior to the vote, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement:

Once again, congressional Republicans are threatening the health of Virginia families by rushing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act – a bill that has helped 400,000 Virginians get health insurance. The legislation that they intend to pass today would endanger people with pre-existing conditions, cut essential health benefits, and weaken states’ ability to keep our residents healthy and economically competitive. Without a non-partisan analysis of the human and financial impacts by the Congressional Budget Office, the GOP leadership is irresponsibly putting this bill to a vote.

“This bill would also decimate Medicaid coverage for low-income Virginians, roughly one million of whom rely on the program to access basic healthcare. By slashing more than $800 billion from this critical lifeline, Republicans are gutting a successful program that has helped countless seniors, children, and people with disabilities live healthy and productive lives.

“The ACA could be made stronger – and Congress should focus on those efforts. Instead, today they are poised to pass a bill that would strip millions of Americans access to health care in order to finance a tax cut for billionaires. On behalf of the people of Virginia, I urge Congress to identify smart, targeted reforms that improve our healthcare system and reduce costs, without leaving behind the very people they are meant to help.”

Congressman Donald McEachin issued the following statement in response to the bill’s passing:

Today, President Trump and Congressional Republicans continued their unprecedented attack on women’s rights and health. By beginning the process of rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage policy and passing legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, the Republican leadership has shown a reckless and dangerous disregard for women’s health, and for their right to make deeply personal decisions free from government interference. Worse yet, eliminating these protections will have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable people who already face barriers to health care like low-income, rural, LGBTQ, and communities of color.

I am extremely disappointed in my colleagues’ continued failure to respect their fellow Americans’ basic rights and dignity.”