American Health Care Act | KUOW News and Information

American Health Care Act

In a moment of unexpected high drama, Republicans were stymied once again in their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act — and they have John McCain to thank for it.

In the early morning hours Friday, the senator showed why he earned the nickname "Maverick" over his long tenure.

Bill Radke talks to Monica Ewing, a benefits manager at Durney Insurance in Hoquiam, about how she councils her clients under the uncertainty of health care reform and why the insurance options in Grays Harbor County are so limited.  

For the hundreds of rural U.S. hospitals struggling to stay in business, health policy decisions made in Washington, D.C., this summer could make survival a lot tougher.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will release a discussion draft of their version of the health care bill on Thursday, with a vote likely next week.

Private health care talks have been underway in the Senate for weeks. McConnell tapped a 13-member working group last month to hash out senators' differences over the House-passed American Health Care Act. McConnell's office has since taken the lead drafting the Senate version of the party's long-promised legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Broken teeth are all too often a punchline in conversations about poor people in rural places. But for Heather Wallace, dental problems are anything but funny.

"Basically it's just like a nerve pain. Your whole body locks up; you have to stop for a second to try to breathe," she said. "And sometimes if it hurts bad enough, you might cry."

Several decades ago, Evan Nodvin's life probably would have looked quite different.

Nodvin has his own apartment just outside Atlanta, in Sandy Springs, Ga., which he shares with a roommate, and a job at a local community fitness center. He also has Down syndrome.

"I give out towels, and put weights away, and make sure people are safe," the 38-year-old says.

To get to and from work, Nodvin relies on rides from people who are hired to help him. He also has a counselor to help him do daily chores like grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking.

Christine Mathews says she couldn't afford health insurance without the ACA subsidies. She was at a rally last month outside  Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s district office in Bothell.
KUOW photo/Amy Radil

Remember that time back in the 1990s when Washington state had Obamacare?

Okay, it wasn't exactly the same, but the health insurance law the Legislature passed in 1993 had a similar goal: Get more people covered by health insurance.


The revised Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will leave 23 million more people uninsured in 2026 than if that act, also known as Obamacare, were to remain in place. The GOP bill would also reduce the deficit by $119 billion over 10 years.

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are back in their home districts for a recess this week. After seeing the reception some of their colleagues got in previous town hall-style meetings following the election of Donald Trump, most House Republicans are skipping them.

But a handful are diving in headfirst.

On Monday night, a few days after voting in favor of the House bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Elise Stefanik, 32, from Northern New York, held a town hall at a public television station.

At a news conference at Harborview Medical Center, Sen. Patty Murray says 'Trumpcare is headed straight to a dead end in the Senate.' With her are Sen. Maria Cantwell (left) and Harborview chief Paul Hayes.
KUOW photo/Kate Walters

Seattle's Harborview Medical Center could lose $627 million in annual revenue by 2026 under the GOP health care bill passed by the House.

That’s according to Harborview executive director Paul Hayes who said Friday that patients were likely to suffer if the bill becomes law.

Spokane Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers says the current Republican health care bill is only part of a larger plan.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/e4kQ16

Most Washington state lawmakers are dismayed about the House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. State insurance officials say it could lead to thousands of people losing their health insurance.


US Congress
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Bill Radke talks to Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times reporter who covers health care for The Upshot, about the health care bill that passed the House and what happens next. 

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

The House voted Thursday to narrowly approve a Republican-drafted measure that would eliminate many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act — the first step toward keeping one of President Trump's campaign pledges and a victory for GOP lawmakers who have long railed against Obamacare, as the ACA is commonly known. The vote was 217-213.

The measure moves to the Senate, where its fate is far from certain — and where top lawmakers in both parties are already signaling that there is a long legislative process ahead.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Republicans finally got their health care bill.

After seven years of repeal-and-replace rhetoric against the Affordable Care Act, two presidential campaigns waged for and against it and a recent high-profile failure, House Republicans passed their bill.

The trouble is this bill is unlikely to ever become law — at least in its current iteration.

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/cVEJJh

House Republicans, short of votes, withdrew their health care bill on Friday afternoon, just before it was supposed to go to the floor.

The bill was pulled after President Trump asked Speaker Paul Ryan to halt the debate without a vote, according to The Associated Press. 

Throughout the campaign, President Trump billed himself as a master negotiator who would make the "best deals" for the American people.

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

The Affordable Care Act's tax penalty for people who opt out of health insurance is one of the most loathed parts of the law, so it is no surprise that Republicans are keen to abolish it. But the penalty, also called the individual mandate, plays a vital function: nudging healthy people into the insurance markets, where their premiums help pay for the cost of care for the sick. Republican lawmakers think they have a better alternative.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling the Republican healthcare plan in Congress “a disaster.” Inslee made his comments Wednesday as new projections on the impact to the state were released.