Alexander, Corker Among Senators Favoring Amendment To Move Health Care Debate To House, Senate Conference; Perdue Hits "Failure To Abolish Obamacare"

Friday, July 28, 2017

Senator Lamar Alexander released the following statement about the United States Senate’s vote early Friday, 49-51, not to approve an amendment that would have moved the health care bill debate to a conference of the Senate and the House of Representatives:

“I voted to take the next step toward what I believed was our best opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Senate's failure to do this leaves an urgent problem that I am committed to addressing: 

"Tennessee's state insurance commissioner says our individual insurance market is very near collapse. Unless Congress acts, many of the 350,000 Tennesseans who buy health insurance in that market—songwriters, farmers, the self-employed—face the real prospect of having zero options to buy insurance in 2018 and 2019.”  

Senator Alexander, along with Senators Bob Corker and David Perdue, had favored moving the bill to the conference committee.

The vote was taken around 2 a.m. Friday.

Senator Perdue (R-GA) commented on "the Senate’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, which he supported. The effort ultimately failed tonight by a vote of 49 to 51."


He said, “Throughout this entire process, we have witnessed everything that’s wrong with Washington. The Senate had a real opportunity to dismantle the most damaging parts of Obamacare. As Republicans have railed against the failures of Obamacare for the last seven years, Democrats have failed to acknowledge any shortcomings of Obamacare and refused to try to fix a broken system.


“Now, due to an unworkable budget process and politicians who put their political self-interests ahead of national interest, Obamacare remains the law of the land. This means that the poorest among us will continue to be fined because they can’t afford Obamacare. This means more than 300,000 Georgians below the poverty line will still not have access to the insurance Obamacare promised. Additionally, this means the Medicaid expansion will continue as an open-ended government program that cannot be sustained.


“The American people should be outraged and should demand real change now. It is extremely important that we get this fixed. We have to make sure people have access to affordable health care, which they don’t under Obamacare. We have got to work to reduce premiums, which have skyrocketed and priced people out of the market. We have got to put Medicaid on a sustainable path and make sure preexisting conditions continue to be covered. Those are the big objectives and nothing has changed. Now, we have got to come together and get this done for the American people.”


Senator  Corker said, “My strong preference was for Congress to advance legislation I supported earlier this week to repeal Obamacare after a reasonable transition period,” said Corker. “I sincerely believed that was the best path forward and would have taken us back to a level playing field where, by a date certain, all sides would have had incentive to work together to develop a health care replacement that would generate broad support and stand the test of time. Unfortunately, that amendment failed to achieve the votes necessary to advance.”


“I am disappointed that the Senate failed this morning to advance legislation that would allow us to continue our work to repeal and replace Obamacare, which is driving up costs and limiting choices for families in Tennessee and across our country,” added Corker. “It is my hope that we will expeditiously move to a process that will generate an outcome that is better for the American people than what is in place today.”


Senator Corker on Wednesday voted to repeal Obamacare. The amendment failed to advance by a vote of 45 to 55. On Friday, he voted for the Health Care Freedom Act, which he said "would have allowed Congress to continue its work to repeal and replace Obamacare."


Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) issued a statement "concerning the Senate’s failure to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

He said, “While I commend Senator Isakson and Senator Perdue for supporting the legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, I’m deeply disappointed and frustrated by the Senate’s failure to pass a bill. The House made difficult choices and passed a bill to fulfill our promise, and the Senate needs to do the same thing. We cannot stand back and let the healthcare system implode. We have to keep fighting. We have to rescue the families caught up in Obamacare’s death spiral, which is only accelerating. I’m ready to do whatever is necessary to move this process forward. The American people are waiting.” 


Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D., a physician who ran for Congress on the promise to repeal Obamacare, expressed frustration, but also determination, after  he said "several Senate Republicans, who previously voted to repeal Obamacare in its entirety, helped Democrats to defeat their constituents’ wishes last night. "


The conservative Freedom Caucus member issued the following statement, reiterating his pledge to Tennesseans, "experiencing the worst of the former president’s failed health care law. "


He said, :“Make no mistake. As I always have been, I am committed to free-market health care reform that will succeed where Obamacare has failed. Tennesseans’ premiums have nearly doubled year after year. Deductibles are prohibitively expensive. Many have no insurance options at all, and small businesses are struggling to cope with taxes and regulations, while millions across the country remain uninsured. Reducing the federal government’s role in health care and our economy will provide better options to Americans, who expect their elected representatives to keep their word. We must keep pressure on defenders – both Democrats and some Republicans, unfortunately – of the unacceptable status quo.”


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