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Political notebook: NC’s members of Congress react to Obamacare replacement bill

It’s not perfect, but Rep. Richard Hudson says he supports a Republican bill recently introduced to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Hudson, R-8, sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which passed a measure to repeal and replace Obamacare this week. Intentionally or not, the repeal-and-replace bill has a name nearly identical to the Affordable Care Act. Republicans call it the American Health Care Act.

After a 27-hour session discussing the bill, Hudson on Thursday released a statement describing his support for the measure.

“While this bill isn’t perfect, it represents the biggest entitlement reform in a generation,” he said. “This is good, conservative health care reform and one phase of the process to repeal and replace Obamacare. Will still have a lot of work to do, and I remain committed to getting it right for my constituents.”

During the marathon session, Hudson told stories about many of those constituents’ experiences with Obamacare. He said Congress is on a “rescue mission of the American people.” The bill would put Americans back in charge of their health care, he said during the session.

In a news release, Hudson’s office said the bill:

• Would keep a promise to repeal Obamacare and put in place a better system.

• Would end individual mandates for health care.

• Would block federal funds from Planned Parenthood.

• Would phase out Medicaid expansion.

Rowan County’s newest member of Congress — Rep. Ted Budd, R-13 — didn’t issue a statement about the measure this week or discuss it on social media.

Hudson says the bill is one part of a “thoughtful, transparent and multistep process” to repeal and replace Obamacare. Other parts will include administrative action and passing bills to allow people to shop across state lines, reform medical liability and more.

Opposition to American Health Care Act

Meanwhile, there’s bipartisan opposition to the ACA repeal bill among other members of Congress who represent North Carolina.

On the GOP side, vocal opposition comes from Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican who represents the 11th District and is chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. In an interview on CNN, Meadows said the health care bill keeps in place much of what people complained about with Obamacare.

He said the bill would not drive down costs of health care.

Congresswoman Alma Adams, a Democrat whose 12th District is in Mecklenburg County, called the new bill a “plan to make America sick again.”

“This bill terminates the Medicaid expansion thereby stripping 11 million Americans of insurance, raises costs while decreasing coverage for working families, and forces seniors to pay premiums that are five times higher than their current rates,” Adams said. “Instead of proposing legislation that hurts the middle class, Republicans should be working to improve coverage for all Americans by strengthening and expanding the Affordable Care Act.”

Adams noted the bill advanced out of committees just 48 hours after its release.

Senators react to Obamacare bill

In statements reacting to the bill, one of North Carolina’s senators said he looks forward to examining its provisions closer. The other called it “a good step forward.”

First to react  was Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

“The House plan is a good first step toward providing relief from the broken promises, costly mandates and government bureaucracy created by Obamacare,” Burr said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to fulfill our promise to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare with solutions that make health insurance more affordable and that give families more control over their own health care.”

In a statement, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., didn’t take a position. Tillis said he looks forward to closely reviewing the plan introduced in the House. He also offered some advice for the health care discussion.

“We cannot allow partisan politics to consume the health care policy debate,” Tillis said. “Even Obamacare’s strongest supporters will acknowledge that Obamacare is on an unsustainable course and major corrective action needs to be taken. My Republican colleagues would be making a mistake if they become content with failing to produce the perfect at the expense of achieving good, practical solutions to reform our nation’s broken health care system.”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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