Young a no, Blum nowhere as House leaders shelve new health care vote

U.S. House Republican leaders called off plans to vote today on a new proposal to replace the 2010 health care reform law. Representative David Young (IA-03) was among at least 21 Republicans who had indicated they don’t support the MacArthur amendment to the American Health Care Act.

At this writing, Young has not released a statement, and his communications staff have not responded to my inquiries. His social media feeds are full of the usual photos of constituents or groups who stopped by his Washington office this week. But on Thursday, other staffers told various constituent callers (including me) that Young’s “position has not changed” since he came out against the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act in March. The Hill included him on their “whip count” of no votes, based on Young’s comments to Independent Journal Review reporter Haley Byrd: “Moderate GOP member David Young says he’s still a no on AHCA and tells me he *somehow* hasn’t read the MacArthur amendment yet. (Hmm. Okay.)”

Representative Rod Blum (IA-01) hasn’t commented publicly on the latest proposal, which was drafted to appease members of the House Freedom Caucus to which he belongs. I haven’t heard back from his communications staff, and numerous constituents who called his offices were told he has no position, either because nothing is on the House floor yet or because the bill is only in “draft” form. Notably, Blum didn’t wait for a floor vote to announce his opposition to the American Health Care Act last month. At that time, he said any health care reform bill needs “to drive down actual costs” and “help people who need the help.”

Groups including the AARP, the March of Dimes, American Hospital Association, and American Medical Association oppose the MacArthur amendment, under which states could decide not to force insurers to cover “essential health benefits.” The policy would also lead to much higher insurance premiums for older people and those with pre-existing conditions. The new Republican proposal envisions a return to state-based high-risk pools, which “failed consumers in the past.” Iowa was among 35 states that established high-risk pools before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. Karen Pollitz of the Kaiser Foundation explained the shortcomings well here.

I will update this post as needed if Blum or Young comment further on GOP health care reform alternatives. The third Iowa Republican in the U.S. House, Representative Steve King (IA-04), came around to supporting the American Health Care Act in March.

UPDATE: Iowans living in the first district continue to report being told that Blum’s staff told them he doesn’t have a position on the bill. Blum has taken a stand on countless other policies that never came up for a vote on the House floor. Just this week, he expressed support for President Trump’s “tax plan,” which is nothing like fleshed-out legislation.

I’ve added below a news release from State Representative Abby Finkenauer, who is likely to make her campaign against Blum official soon.

April 26 news release from Abby Finkenauer:

FINKENAUER STATEMENT ON U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE DEAL

Dubuque, IA – Following today’s announcement of a deal between U.S. House Republican Leadership and Rep. Rod Blum’s Freedom Caucus, State Representative Abby Finkenauer released the following statement:

“Rod Blum should be ashamed of himself. This plan will make Iowans pay more, plain and simple. Taking health care away from 24 million Americans while at the same time exempting Members of Congress like himself from losing their benefits is truly unconscionable.

“I encourage Congressman Blum to spend a little less time in Washington and a little more time with Iowa’s families who depend on their health care coverage.”

The Republican Health Care Bill and its Macarthur Amendment would result in:
· 24,000,000 Americans losing health care coverage

· States being allowed to end essential health benefits

· Insurance companies will be allowed to charge more for pre-existing conditions

· A woman who completed her pregnancy with minor or no complications could see a whopping $17,320 premium surcharge.

· Experts have concluded a 40-year-old with Asthma could be saddled with a $4,340 premium surcharge.

· Diabetes without complications could cost a 40-year-old individual $5,600.

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