It calls it ‘a dangerous step for Marylanders.’
Baltimore, Md (KM). “A terrible step toward taking care of tens of millions of our friends and family for the sole purpose of a tax cut for Americans who don’t need it.” Those comments come from a statement issued by Maryland Citizens Health Initiative following a vote from the US Senate on Tuesday to consider two bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
“All of the bills that they’re considering would throw millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Marylanders off of their health care coverage, risking their lives, and destroying many of their ability to live decent lives,” says Vinnie DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative. “It really is immoral and reprehensible that they’re even considering these bills.”
The Senate on Tuesday, by a vote of 51-50, agreed to move ahead with two pieces of legislation. One is the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which is sometimes called Obamacare because it was enacted while Barrack Obama was President. The other would just repeal the law, and decide later what to put in its place.
Some members of Congress who have been traveling around their districts have come into contact with citizens who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act, and don’t want to see it repealed. DeMarco says the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative met with citizens with similar opinions during forums held in Baltimore city and Salisbury. “It allowed them to work and really improved their lives dramatically,” he said. “And it would just be horrible for the Affordable Care Act to be undermined the ways these bills in Congress are trying to do.”
Instead of trying to gut the law, DeMarco says members from both parties in the House and Senate should work to improve the Affordable Care Act. “There’s no excuse for the kind of ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ that the Republican leadership is trying which would destroy the lives of some many millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Marylanders,” he said. “Let’s work to make the Affordable Care Act better.”
The motion approved by the Senate does not enact either bill. It sets up days of debate and votes on these two pieces of legislation. Whatever the Senate approves must also pass the House of Representatives.
Maryland’s two US Senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen who are both Democrats, voted against moving forward with those two bills. Arizona Senator John McCain, who came to the Senate to vote days after it was announced he was diagnosed with brain cancer, voted in the yes column.
West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who had been wavering on this issue, voted in favor of moving forward with the two bills. She comes from one of the nation’s poorest states with a serious drug abuse problem. Her colleague, Senator Joe Manchin, voted against.
Both of Virginia’s US Senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, voted no.
By Kevin McManus