As we've been shouting all morning, the bill that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with Trumpcare passed through the House Ways and Means Committee this morning after only 18 hours of mark-ups and discussion. The Congressional Budget Office hasn't scored the bill yet, so no one knows exactly how much it will cost or how many people stand to lose coverage. And yet, like every other Republican on the committee, Congressman Dave Reichert (R-Auburn) voted for the bill. Suzan DelBene (D-Bothell) voted against.
Reichert hasn't released a statement on his vote yet, but, in general, this is what Reichert says he believes about healthcare proposals: “I continue to believe that we can advance proposals that lower costs and increase access to quality care without hurting seniors or punishing job-creating small businesses."
On that "increase access to quality care" bit: the CBO hasn't analyzed the bill, but Standard & Poor's estimates that between six and ten million people will lose their coverage under Trumpcare. Chopping off a quarter of the people who currently rely on the Affordable Care Act for health insurance is the opposite of increasing access.
During Reichert's Facebook live town hall, he claimed that no one would lose coverage under the new Republican plan:
GOP U.S. Rep. @davereichert says under Republican health care reform, "No one will lose coverage." #waelex pic.twitter.com/9ER0ACLs9z
— Walker Orenstein (@walkerorenstein) February 23, 2017
There goes that idea.
On that "without hurting seniors" bit, the AARP argues that premiums for low-income seniors will go way up:
We estimate that the bill’s changes to current law’s tax credits could increase premium costs for a 55-year old earning $25,000 by more than $2,300 a year. For a 64-year old earning $25,000 that increase rises to more than $4,400 a year, and more than $5,800 for a 64-year old earning $15,000
The math here isn't hard. If older people can no longer afford health insurance because their premiums now constitute 1/5 of their income, then they'll drop out of the market, get sick, and die. That is the opposite of not hurting seniors.
When Reichert voted for Trumpcare this morning, he also voted to defund Planned Parenthood. If you take your lunch in Issaquah and you want to let Reichert know how dumb it is to pull federal funding from a clinic that millions of people rely on for healthcare, Planned Parenthood advocates organized a rally outside the Congressman's office this afternoon. It starts at noon.
In case you need more reasons to stand outside of Reichert's office, here's a little summary of what District 8's elusive representative has been up to over the years. Every time Reichert takes a party line vote that hurts his constituents or introduces needless legislation or does anything at all, we'll add it to the list.
Reichert Watch: Recently, Congressman Dave Reichert voted for the SCRUB act, which creates a regulatory committee to identify and eliminate regulations that don’t directly increase the GDP. The committee’s goals align with White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state," but the irony of commissioning a regulatory agency to cut back on regulations is lost on no one, especially not tax payers who are being charged $30 million for the favor. Reichert twice voted against forcing Trump to show congress his tax returns (once in committee and once in a roll call vote), which may illuminate conflicts of interest and business ties with Russia. Reichert was the only Washington Republican who voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. In 2014, he proposed a bill that would ban welfare recipients from using benefits to buy weed, despite the fact that such purchases were already illegal. In 2010, he voted to maintain “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell." That same year, Reichert suffered significant brain trauma when a tree branch fell on his head. The resulting hand-sized blood clot that formed in his brain went untreated for two months. In their 2006 endorsement, The Seattle Times editorial board applauded Reichert for his "conscience-driven independent streak," but, that same year, during a speech before the Mainstream Republicans of Washington, Reichert expressed his readiness to vote along party lines, saying: "when the leadership comes to me and says, 'Dave, we need you to take a vote over here because we want to protect you and keep this majority,' I... I do it." Though he has voted for some land conservation efforts, Reichert describes his pro-environment votes as "chess pieces, strategies" to hold his seat in a swing district.