Health care bill passes without being made public, heads to Senate

(WBKO)
Published: May. 4, 2017 at 9:51 PM EDT
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Members of the House moved to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Thursday. The bill passed by a very slim margin.

The bill was passed without being made public, so we don't know what it says. One professor at Virginia Tech says the vote was more about party lines than health care.

"It's a good bill. Is it a great bill, is it a perfect bill? No, but is it a good bill? Yes it is. Is it going to make a difference for average families? You bet. It's going better than Obamacare, not the promises or Obamacare, but the reality," Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA 9th District) said.

"The only fact that is known for sure about this bill is it's a massive tax cut for the wealthiest because two taxes that were supporting the Affordable Care Act are in high income individuals and they proposed to eliminate that," Sen, Tim Kaine (D-VA) said.

One big concern is how similar is this new bill to the previous healthcare bill that was pulled back in March?

"If it's close to what the CBO said, and 24 million people lose health insurance, this is going to be a catastrophe in the lives of regular people," Sen. Kaine said.

"Everybody's going to have an availability. The last amendment that we put on, not only makes the availability but also helps to pay for that," Rep. Griffith said.

Irene Leech is an associate professor of consumer studies at Virginia Tech. She says the vote means nothing yet as we don't know what the bill says. We need to wait until it's released.

"Find out what's truly in it. What does it really mean and then we need to communicate with the right people. But today is not a good day to panic," Leech said.

When asked if it's normal for the House to vote on a bill before it's made public.

"It shouldn't be. We've got such a partisan environment that it's become difficult to do things in the way that they were set up to be done and so there's been a lot of going around the rules in order to get things to happen," Leech said.

Leech listened to the debate and says it's a shame she heard the words "Republican" and "Democrat" more than the word "health."

But now the bill goes to the Senate, and likely won't be as quick a vote as Thursday's.

"Things happen in the House and then they're meant to cool down in the Senate. That's the way the system was designed," Leech said.

Sen. Kaine says he looks forward to the bill coming to the Senate. He hopes it's brought to the Health and Finance committees, one of which he sits on. He believes with hearings and public input, a reasonable bill can be passed by both sides.