President Donald Trump scored his first major legislative victory Thursday when the House of Representatives passed a bill that would effectively dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Eighth District Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, a freshman Republican, was one of 20 Republicans who did not vote in favor of the bill that aims to alter the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Despite Fitzpatrick’s ‘no’ vote, the bill passed 217-213 and still has to pass the Senate before it would go the president’s desk.
Across Pennsylvania, four of 13 Republican congress people voted “no,” while the remainder approved the bill. All of the state’s Democratic representatives voted against the bill.
Fitzpatrick released the following statement moments after the vote Thursday afternoon:
We saw what happened when healthcare reform – an issue impacting 1/5 of our economy – was rushed through Congress along extremely partisan lines in 2009. The Affordable Care Act has failed to live up to its promises, and too many are left with skyrocketing premiums, limited access to their doctors, and insurers pulling out of the system entirely. This broken process yielded a broken product – the very reason we’re dealing with this situation today.
I’ve said from the start: ‘We need to proceed in fixing our healthcare system in a responsible, deliberate manner. That means any changes to our current system must ensure both the continuity of coverage and the continuity of patient protection provisions.’ Throughout this debate, I’ve made clear my concerns about the proposed legislation – including its impact on our response to the opioid epidemic crushing our community, something I’ve made a primary focus in Congress. Despite some positive portions, I could not support this bill with these issues unresolved.
It is my hope that the Senate takes the opportunity to return a reform bill that addresses this bill’s shortfalls, provides real solutions for the American people, and can garner my support because the status quo is unacceptable.
Fitzpatrick told NBCNews.com earlier this week that the bill did not focus enough funding for opioid treatment, an issue that has greatly impacted the district.
During the campaign and shortly after being elected, Fitzpatrick stated he wasn’t necessarily for repealing Obamacare but knew the system needed to be greatly improved. He did not support a previous effort to change the health care system in March.
Fitzpatrick’s office said Thursday afternoon that the congressman has urged peers for “robust funding” to tackle the opioid epidemic. They also said he supports measursed to remove”barriers to care for the terminally ill Americans” and has called for doubling women’s health funding for the National Institutes of Health.
Constituents told LevittownNow.com Thursday morning that they were calling to try to voice their opposition to the Republican plan in the hours leading up to the vote.
House Democrats chanted “shame!” at Republicans who voted for the bill as they left the Capitol following the vote. Many Republicans boarded a bus and were heading to the White House for an event with Trump.
Fitzpatrick, a former FBI special agent and Levittown native, has shown himself to be a moderate Republican who did not vote for Trump in the election.