Politics

Rep. Chris Collins: Didn't Read GOP Health Care Bill (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York said on May 4 that he did not read all of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, that he voted for to replace Obamacare (video below).

Collins was asked by CNN host Wolf Blitzer if he read the entire bill, and he replied: "I will fully admit, Wolf, I did not. But I can also assure you my staff did. We have to rely on our staff."

Collins said that he did attend several meetings about the AHCA.

Blitzer then asked Collins: "This legislation affects one-fifth of the US economy, and millions of millions of Americans. Don't you think it was important to actually sit down and read the language of this bill?"

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Collins insisted that all members of Congress did what he did:

I have to rely on my staff. And I can probably tell you that I read every word, and I wouldn't be telling you the truth, nor would any other member.

We rely on our staff, and we rely on our committees. I'm comfortable that I understand this bill in its entirety, Wolf, without poring through every word. I'm being quite honest, that's the way it is.

Before a vote was taken on Trumpcare, an NBC News reporter asked several Republican Congressmen if they had read the bill. Their responses included: "Uhh," "We're still working on it," "We're in a hurry, we'll be back," and other non-responses.

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In 2009, House Speaker Paul Ryan, then a congressman, told MSNBC: "I don't think we should pass bills that we haven't read that we don't know what they cost."

Before the vote was taken on May 4, Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas was asked on CNN if his state would get waivers, per the AHCA, that would allow health insurance companies to charge people higher rates for their pre-existing conditions.

Barton signaled that his state would indeed use the waivers:

I think Texas will lead the parade [on requesting waivers]. But when you opt out of the federal mandates, that doesn’t mean you’re opting out of providing quality care health insurance for those that cannot get it through their workplace. So, you either believe in government or you believe in markets.

Later in the interview, Barton pointed to Maine as a state that has used so-called high risk pools to deal with high-risk people (pre-existing conditions).

CNN host Poppy Harlow reminded Barton that Maine funds its high risk pool with a tax, and asked Barton if he would support the same type of tax.

"I don’t know all there is to know about the Maine plan," Barton admitted. "But I do know that markets will work."

The Charlotte Observer noted in January how the markets drove the up price of health insurance coverage before Obamacare:

For years, even decades, before Obamacare, Americans wanted health care and insurance reform. By 2008, health care costs were skyrocketing and insurance plans seemed to cover less and less -- and that was if you were lucky enough to afford coverage ...

Between 2000 and 2010, average family premiums for employer coverage grew 8 percent per year -- a perpetual burden on Americans’ budgets. From 2010 to 2016, that same average has grown at a slower 5 percent a year.

Sources: CNN, MSNBC via Twitter, MSNBC via Twitter, CNN via YouTube, The Charlotte Observer / Photo credit: Yahoo/Flickr

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