Sanford and House Freedom Caucus delay vote on RyanCare

Sanford and House Freedom Caucus delay vote on RyanCare
March 23 20:04 2017 Print This Article

Rep. Mark Sanford and his nearly 40 colleagues on the House Freedom Caucus were instrumental in delaying the vote for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), promoted by Speaker Paul Ryan. The vote was expected for Thurs. evening, but the House Republicans were not expected to be within reach of the 216 votes needed to pass the measure. The Republican Caucus majority currently stands at 237 members, meaning that it could only afford to lose 21 Republican votes. All Democrats are expected to vote against the AHCA.

Sanford and other members of the conservative Freedom Caucus have been invited to the White House several times to discuss the health care measure. President Donald Trump urged them to vote for the AHCA, viewed as a repeal and replacement bill for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the signature issue of former President Barack Obama.

The Freedom Caucus has resisted the AHCA because they did not view it as offering a solution to the rising health insurance premiums experienced as a result of the ACA. Sanford noted in a statement that “The Affordable Care Act is not sustainable and is not working for the majority of people who pay for it in the individual insurance marketplace. I am pushing for change, but in this rush to get a bill, I think that it’s important that the the conservative principles I believe in should not be erased in the headlong race to get a ‘political win’. What people want to see is a drop in their premiums and greater choices in the way they can buy insurance.”

The Freedom Caucus was dismayed by the resistance within the Republican Leadership to allow amendments to the AHCA. They sought the elimination of the “essential health benefits” mandated to be covered by all health insurance policies under the ACA and the ability to purchase policies across state lines. It is unclear what negotiations will take place going forward or whether the vote will be rescheduled in the near future.