Earlier today, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act of 2017 by a narrow, party line vote of 217 to 213 with all Democrats opposing.
This feels like the same thing that happened when the ACA was passed by a party-line vote with all Republicans opposing. The action is certainly consistent with about seven years of House Republicans promising to repeal ‘Obamacare,’ but it’s important to note that this vote is just one step in the legislative process. The bill now moves to the Senate where it is virtually certain that the bill will be modified significantly, if it passes the Senate at all.
My reaction to this is sadness, not so much because of this vote but mostly because this is just one more example of our elected officials refusing to compromise and work together for the good of the country.
As I have said many times over many years – health care should not be political – it’s personal – it’s about life and death. No health care legislation approved by only one party will last the test of time.
Good and sustainable legislation should come out of debate, compromise and the involvement of the experts – in this case, health care professionals. What the passage of this bill today will do is to continue the uncertainty about the future of health care and how it is going to be funded and it will cause confusion and fear with patients and health care providers.
I will continue my plea to our elected officials to stop this partisan bickering about health care policy and instead, come together and work together to design a health care policy and plan that will increase coverage and access and help our country improve quality and outcomes while reducing the cost of care. We health care providers stand ready to help.