Republican First District Congressman Rick Crawford says in a statement to KUAR that he fully supports President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to take additional time “to get health care reform right instead of right now.”
Although three Arkansas congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives were expected to support the GOP healthcare overhaul bill, Crawford and Arkansas’s Junior U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton have been vocally opposed to the American Health Care Act.
In his statement Friday, Crawford, who planned to vote against the bill, said it “cemented the federal government’s role in health insurance….[and] didn’t address core problems facing Arkansans, like health care access and rising premiums and deductibles.”
KUAR has also sent inquiries to U.S. Representatives French Hill, Bruce Westerman and Steve Womack, all Republicans, about the failure of the GOP bill.
NPR reports that support for the bill fell apart on Friday “after defections from both the right and center that made it clear the bill would not pass.”
"Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land," House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted shortly after he pulled the bill. "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it's going to take us to replace this law."
Ryan may have admitted defeat, but President Trump chalked it up to a "learning experience." Trump also tried to spin the setback as an opportunity for a potential "bipartisan" bill in the future.
"Both parties can get together ... and have a better bill," he said, adding, "Having bipartisan would be a big, big improvement."
But Trump and Ryan both said health care is being put on the shelf for the time being. They're moving on to tax reform.
The failure of the health care bill is a major setback for Trump's leadership and Ryan's ability to control his conference. That control was something that eluded his predecessor, John Boehner, and eventually led to Boehner's ouster.
Meanwhile the Associated Press reports that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is still optimistic that Congress will reach a consensus to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:
The Republican governor said Friday he has no doubt Congress will revisit the issue, but said he'll move forward with a plan for new limits on the hybrid Medicaid expansion Arkansas enacted under the law.
Hutchinson had criticized the House health care legislation and raised concerns that it would shift too much cost to Arkansas and other states. More than 300,000 people are on Arkansas' hybrid expansion, which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.
Hutchinson earlier this month said he'd ask for federal approval to move about 60,000 people off the expansion and impose work requirements on some recipients.