Durbin, LaHood offer opposing views on House vote to repeal Obamacare

By Gary Scott on May 5, 2017 at 11:01am

A U.S. Senator from central Illinois plans to fight back against the U.S. House decision yesterday to repeal Obamacare.

The American Health Care Act, or AHCA, passed the House of Representatives by a narrow margin of 217-213 yesterday. Illinois Congressmen voted along party lines with Republicans voting ‘Yes’ to repeal and replace Obamacare, and Democrats voting against the health care repeal.

With the bill now moving to the U.S. Senate, Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Springfield is expressing vehement opposition to the Republican-backed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Durbin said in a statement yesterday, “The Illinois Congressmen who voted to repeal health care ignored clear warnings from every Illinois medical organization that this will be a disaster for our state…” and vowed to “fight this Republican health care repeal in the Senate until Hell freezes over.”

According to his statement, Durbin expects diminished protection for Illinois residents with preexisting conditions, dramatic increases in premiums for people between the ages of 45 and 65, and as many as one million Illinoisans to lose their health insurance.

Durbin went on to say, “The vote (Republican Congressmen) just cast to take health care away from the people they represent will be front and center when they face their constituents…” and that, “The Senate won’t save them from being held accountable for this craven vote.”

Among those who voted in support of repealing and replacing Obamacare was Illinois Congressmen Darin LaHood.

LaHood yesterday voted in favor of the American Health Care Act, which is one of three parts in a plan to fully repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

WLDS-WEAI News caught up with LaHood this morning to discuss the bill.

Unlike Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, LaHood believes the AHCA is a step in the right direction.

“We have an obligation to fix what’s wrong with Obamacare. If we do nothing, Obamacare is going to fail. So I thought the bill we voted on yesterday was a positive step in the right direction. It is not a perfect bill, but I think it lays out the parameters for how we drive down costs. That’s really the biggest thing for me is we have to figure out how we bring those costs down for people, but also keep in there the things that have worked with Obamacare, like protecting preexisting conditions and parents being able to keep their kids on insurance til 26. So I think yesterday was a good first step,” LaHood says.

As for Durbin and other Senate Democrats who opposed the bill, LaHood says that’s part of the democratic process, and hopes that the House and Senate can work together.

“This is part of the legislative process. The House is different than the Senate, Senators represent entire states and not individual districts, so that’s part of our democracy and our system. My hope is that we come back with something. Part of the ebb and flow of the legislative process is to work together. I wish this wasn’t a partisan issue. What we need to do in my perspective is, again, keep what’s worked with Obamacare, a few of the provisions, but fix it in terms of changing the law to drive down costs so that people have affordable health care,” says LaHood.

With the bill now headed to the Senate, LaHood says he’s willing to consider changes to the bill if it means lower costs and maintaining protection for preexisting conditions for constituents of his district.