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Pa. Republicans: Obamacare bad but what's good?

Written by Joel Shannon/York Daily Record | Mar 22, 2017 7:23 AM
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FILE PHOTO: Midstate Republican Congressman Lou Barletta, at Trump Tower, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Few have come out directly supporting or opposing the proposed Republican healthcare plan to replace Obamacare.

(Undated) -- Mixed. That's the best way of describing the positions of Pennsylvania's 13 Republicans who will soon vote on the GOP-crafted healthcare plan billed as a replacement for Obamacare.

After a modified version of the bill was released Monday ahead of a scheduled vote Thursday, 10 lawmakers have confirmed statements on their positions.

Two indicate support for the bill without serious qualification: Rep. Tim Murphy and Rep.  Mike Kelly -- both representing districts in Western Pennsylvania.

Two said they would not be voting for the legislation in its current form: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick -- who represents Bucks and Montgomery counties -- and Rep. Lou Barletta, who's 11th District includes part of Dauphin County.

One, Rep. Tom Marino will not be releasing a statement until after the vote, according to a spokesperson. Marino's district spans parts of northeast Pennsylvania.

The balance of lawmakers' statements generally expressed support for the goals of the bill, but stopped short of fully pledging to vote for the legislation in its current form.

Many seem to subscribe to the view of Rep. Scott Perry, who represents York and Adams counties and parts of Cumberland and Dauphin counties: "I agree with President Trump that this is a starting point for negotiation."

Three midstate lawmakers issued statements expressing support for repealing Obamacare, while noting varying reservations about the current Republican alternative, called the American Health Care Act.

Rep. Bill Shuster, who's district includes Franklin and Fulton counties, "looks forward to finally eliminating Obamacare" but will "continue to review the measure as potential policy changes are discussed." His statement positively characterizes President Trump's role in the legislation.

Shuster's statement does not cite any specific concerns with the AHCA.

Perry's office issued a statement Tuesday, quoting him: "While I support the repeal, I'm still concerned about the alternative."

He cites the need for a plan that "reduces costs, increases access, provides the flexibility to choose your coverage, and re-connects patients with their providers - with less decision-making by the insurance companies."

Over the weekend, Perry was openly critical of the bill at a town hall in Red Lion, saying, "I've already expressed to my leadership that I'm a 'no' on it."

Rep. Charlie Dent, who represents part of Lebanon County, offered a mixed reaction to the bill, citing a specific concern that constituents receiving a subsidy under Obamacare should be offered a replacement that is "in the same ballpark."

The office of Rep. Ryan Costello, who also represents part of Lebanon County, was not available for comment.

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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