Upton concerned with GOP Obamacare replacement

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News
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Lansing — Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton has serious concerns with President Donald Trump’s proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act now pending in Congress, a spokesman for Upton confirmed Saturday.

Upton, R-St. Joseph, told Bloomberg Politics on Friday that he has grave concerns with the legislation, along with other moderate Republicans in the U.S. House, because the GOP replacement health care plan might increase costs for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

“I’m not comfortable with it and I told the leadership that,” he told Bloomberg, although Upton has not yet committed to voting yes or no.

In March, Upton had not yet confirmed his vote but said he was leaning toward voting yes on the plan after he previously voted to advance the initial bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, failed to scrape together enough votes then to pass the plan. But it has since been revised, winning the endorsement of the conservative House Freedom Caucus which opposed it before.

GOP Rep. Justin Amash of west Michigan is in that caucus and previously opposed the plan, although most Republican representatives from Michigan supported it in March.

But with the endorsement of the Freedom Caucus comes possible resistance from more moderate House Republicans, including Upton, who told Bloomberg he now takes issue with it because of “potential higher costs to those with pre-existing illnesses.”

Republicans can only lose 22 GOP votes to still pass the legislation. At least 16 Republicans are opposed to the revised plan, according to Bloomberg Politics' count. It would be 17 if Upton’s concern spurs him to finally oppose the measure. Democrats are expected to oppose the plan.

Upton previously has worked to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

He said in a March statement that “Obamacare has not delivered on countless promises. Clearly, the current system is not working for many. It’s time to fix our healthcare system in a responsible way.”

Gov. Rick Snyder, also a Republican, tried to persuade other GOP lawmakers last month to oppose the plan because he said it “will adversely impact” Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens and increase costs for seniors.

In March, a spokesman for Upton, Tom Wilbur, said Upton is still “committed to replacing Obamacare with health care solutions that provide more access and affordability for all Michiganders.”

Wilbur said Upton’s latest quotes in the Bloomberg article are accurate.



Twitter: @MikeGerstein

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