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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House pulls health care bill



WASHINGTON - The U.S. House will not vote on the health care bill today, a stunning development as the bill careened toward failure.

All but two Florida Republicans signaled how they would have voted. Those who did not are Rep. John Rutherford of Jacksonville and Carlos Curbelo of Miami, who had voted to advance the legislation in committee, though it later changed.

A Curbelo spokeswoman said: "He had not made a final decision because he was working with Senate offices to get assurances on increased tax credits for lower income Americans and with Administration officials on restoration of Florida’s Low Income Pool funding. It was clear to him the bill needed improvement and he was fairly certain that we would not be voting today."


Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach: Today the Republican controlled House of Representatives let  down President Trump and, more importantly, the American people. We did so in the most cowardly, craven way possible by failing to  vote on the repeal of Obamacare. I share the frustration and disappointment of Northwest Floridians who expected and deserved action. We should know who was willing to stand with President Trump and who wasn’t. Now we never will. Some say we should give up that we should simply accept Obamacare’s cruel failures for eternity. I won’t. I promised Northwest Floridians that I’d fight Washington control of our health care, our education, our environment and our lives. I’m more determined than ever to keep fighting.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Palm Coast: "There was no reason to rush this bill through the House to begin with. Congress should take its time and pass a good bill that actually repeals ObamaCare, puts a downward pressure on insurance premiums and expands competition in the marketplace. Failure is not an option."

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City: "Our broken healthcare system will not be fixed overnight. As I have said from the beginning, the only way we can fix the failures of Obamacare is through a fully transparent process that engages voices all across the country.  Moving forward, I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in working to improve our nation’s healthcare system to ensure that everyone has the liberty to choose the health care that is best for their life.”

Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Panama City: “Obamacare will continue to harm Americans with higher costs, lost coverage, and fewer choices. That’s unacceptable. We were sent here with orders to end this law and replace it with a patient-centered approach that actually lowers the cost of care. Today’s events will not deter or discourage us from honoring the commitment we made to the voters that elected us.”

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor: “My main concern has been, and will continue to be, making sure my constituents have access to the best possible health care. Our efforts do not stop here to ensure our nation’s health care system is stronger, more affordable, and truly patient-centered. That is my goal, and I will keep working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to accomplish it.”

Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Clermont: "As I have said, I have concerns with the bill that was to come up for a vote today. In particular, it does not provide the dollars needed for the Medicaid-funded nursing home beds that many of our seniors rely on.  I have expressed these concerns to House leadership and the administration. It is my hope that House and Senate leadership and the administration will work together and bring to the floor the conservative, common-sense healthcare reform that Americans deserve."

Sen. Marco Rubio: "Floridians know ObamaCare is still broken because many lost a health care plan they would have preferred to keep, and most have been hit with massive increases in their premiums. Seven years after ObamaCare became law, about three of every four counties in Florida have only one or two insurance providers to choose from on the exchange. After the political drama clears, ObamaCare will only get worse, which is why we must take the time to get repeal and replace done right.”

Gov. Rick Scott: "Governor Scott has said that this bill isn’t perfect, but it is infinitely better than Obamacare." -- spokeswoman

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton: "President Trump and Speaker Ryan should be ashamed of themselves for trying to force through a disastrous bill that would have ripped away health coverage from tens of millions of Americans, dramatically increased premiums, and severely cut Medicare and Medicaid," said Congressman Deutch. "The American people spoke loud and clear; they do not support gutting their own health benefits in order to give massive tax cuts to health insurance companies. House Republicans need to start working with Democrats on real policy solutions that will benefit the American people."

Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg: "This is a win for the American people. It was a bad bill, plain and simple. It would have harmed our seniors, and particularly those who often don’t have a voice in the debate – ‘the least among us’ if you will, the poor and the disabled."

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa: “Republicans tried to ram TrumpCare through the House without a single hearing and then traded consumer protections away with damaging changes to bring the right-wing tea party faction of the U.S. House on board.  It collapsed under its own weight and the unmasking of the huge tax breaks to wealthy special interests while raising costs for everyday Americans and weakening Medicare and Medicaid health services."

[Last modified: Friday, March 24, 2017 6:29pm]


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