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Obamacare repeal great, says WA insurance commish, except for sick, elderly, poor

Spokane Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers says the current Republican health care bill is only part of a larger plan.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)/
Spokane Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers says the current Republican health care bill is only part of a larger plan.

Most Washington state lawmakers are dismayed about the House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. State insurance officials say it could lead to thousands of people losing their health insurance.

But one representative from Washington state is celebrating the vote.

Spokane Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers said the Affordable Care Act did not live up to its promise. The fourth ranking GOP leader in Congress has long advocated for replacing it.

McMorris Rodgers: "Our work on reforms to the health care marketplace will continue. This is only one part of our three-part process to repeal and replace Obamacare."

McMorris Rodgers said the other steps would include allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines. Among other things, she said that would lower the cost of health insurance.

Washington state's top insurance official said the replacement plan is not good news. Commissioner Mike Kreidler said he's not sure the state can keep its insurance marketplace open without the financial support of the federal government.

Kreidler: "It probably could last a couple of years, but inevitably it would take its toll, and you'd wind up collapsing the market."

He said if the marketplace closes, tens of thousands of people would no longer have health insurance.

Kreidler said between that and proposed cuts to Medicaid in the Republican bill, 700,000 people in the state would lose coverage.

Kreidler: "This legislation is a great benefit to people who are younger, and healthier, and richer. But if you're older and have lesser income and have health related issues — watch out."

All six of Washington's House Democrats, plus Republican Dave Reichert, voted no on the measure. Republican Dan Newhouse was absent, but in a statement said he is happy to see the repeal plan move forward.

It now goes to the Senate for consideration, where Washington’s two senators plan to fight the bill.