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Massie, Yarmuth Are Both 'No' On New Republican Health Plan

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As House Republicans work to garner support for the revised American Health Care Act — the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare — we're finding out where Kentucky representatives stand.

President Donald Trump said the AHCA would keep in place protections for people with pre-existing conditions. But recent changes to the proposal include an amendment that would give Kentucky and other states the ability to opt-out of those protections, allowing insurance companies to charge higher rates and deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Vice President Mike Pence went to Capitol Hill Monday afternoon to meet with lawmakers, a sign that the White House is still drumming up votes.

Most congressional Democrats are a definite "no" on the plan, including Louisville's John Yarmuth who said even House Republicans aren’t so sure.

"What we’re seeing here is not an effort by Congressional Republicans to actually improve health care. It’s all done for their political needs," Yarmuth said. "They’ve spent seven years promising to repeal and replace the ACA, so they need to vote on something. And that’s a shame."

At least one Kentucky Republican said they would vote against the plan. Fourth District Rep. Thomas Massie said he could not support the ACHA.

“Ultimately, I do not believe it will result in lower health care costs and it does not fulfill my campaign promise to fully repeal Obamacare,” Massie wrote in an email.

Other Republicans, including Hal Rogers, James Comer and Andy Barr did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Second District Republican Rep. Brett Guthrie said he plans to vote for the proposal. A spokesperson said Guthrie believes the AHCA "puts Medicaid on a sustainable path to ensure it exists for future generations.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previously supported the proposal but a spokesperson from his office Monday wouldn't confirm whether McConnell would vote in favor of the revised measure.
"When (the) House passes a bill, the Senate will consider the bill, it will be open to amendment, etc. But we don’t have any announcements yet on a bill that the House hasn’t even scheduled yet."
Sen. Rand Paul has been one of the most vocal critics of the repeal and replace plan, calling it “Obamacare-lite.” But since changes have been made to the original proposal, Paul would likely support it as the legislation is now closer to a full repeal.

During a speech in Louisville last month, Paul said the previous version bill didn't go far enough and that he hoped for a replacement that leaves no one in the individual market.

“Some of us want more market oriented competition choice, things to drive down price,” Paul said. “And on their side, they’re saying we’ll give you half as much as Obamacare. So it’s Obamacare-lite.”

Lisa Gillespie is WFPL's Health and Innovation Reporter.