After the GOP health care bill failed to even make it to a House floor vote, news reports on Friday said the Republican leaders didn't have a plan B.
But on Tuesday more stories emerged that the attempts to remove Obamacare—or the Affordable Care Act—were not over. Washington state officials have estimated that the Republicans' health care plan would leave a $2.7 billion gap in coverage, a gap the state would be unlikely to even come close to covering. The state legislature this year is struggling to pour billions into basic education to comply with a Supreme Court mandate.
The group of Republican opponents to the bill became key to its downfall. So how did the state's congressional GOP vote on the legislation? Of the four Republicans in Congress representing Washington state, only Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas in the Third Congressional District (Southwest Washington) came out as opposed to the American Health Care Act.
U.S. representatives Dave Reichert of Issaquah in the Eighth Congressional District (which includes parts of King and Pierce counties) remained undecided. He criticized the AHCA but fell short of saying he would have opposed it, had it been put to a vote.
In a statement sent to Seattle Met on Wednesday, Reichert said while he still thinks "the ACA is failing us," he agreed with leaders to pull the bill. Reichert appeared in an attack ad Friday by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for supporting the legislation in the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month.
Herrera Beutler requested an amendment for children from the bill's per capita block grant, which gives states a certain amount of money to distribute for health care. (I interviewed Herrera Beutler for The Daily News in Longview.) She said she would "not vote to let those kids fall through the cracks," listing the bill's exclusion of her amendment as the main reason for her opposition.
GOP leadership is planning its next move; below is a list of the state's Republicans and their statements.
Dave Reichert, Eighth Congressional District (Western and Central Washington):
"While I continue to believe that the ACA is failing us, last week I expressed many concerns to my colleagues about the American Health Care Act, and I was in agreement with leadership to withdraw the bill from consideration.
"Congress can do better. We must do better, and we will do better. We have the opportunity to work together to create a health care system that gives the American people more freedom to choose while simultaneously protecting the most vulnerable among us. This has always been my goal and I will continue to work until it is achieved."
Jaime Herrera Beutler, Third Congressional District (Southwest Washington):
“I remain steadfast in my commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare with health care solutions that better serve all residents of southwest Washington. But we can do better than the current House replacement plan, and I cannot support it in its current form."
Dan Newhouse, Fourth Congressional District (Central Washington):
“All Americans deserve access to quality affordable health care. Obamacare is not working, and we must act to improve our health care system. ... I am disappointed that we have reached a delay in moving forward on solutions, but I will continue to work to support health care proposals that put individuals first, not the government bureaucracy.”
Cathy McMorris Rogers, Fifth Congressional District (Eastern Washington):
“Although I’m disappointed we couldn’t find consensus on how to repeal and replace Obamacare, I’m optimistic about the agenda House Republicans have proposed. I’m eager to continue work on the many issues that are important to people in Eastern Washington and around the country, like lowering taxes and putting the people back at the center of our government.”