Valley congressmen and experts sound off on withdrawal of Obamacare replacement

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The failure of Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act with their American Health Care Act is seen as a blow to the Trump Administration.

But its failure is welcome news to some local health care advocates who feared the loss of coverage to half a million Valley residents.

The Republican plan to gut the Affordable Care Act would have dramatically reduced health care services and cut or eliminated coverage for millions of Americans.

While the failure to repeal is welcome by some, the fight is not over.

Dr. John Capitman, director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State, is an expert on local health care issues, and he says the fact the Affordable Care Act withstood the Republican attacks is good but doesn't believe the fight is over.

"I do not think it's time for a victory dance," he said. "I don't think we are out of the woods. I think there will be continued efforts to erode the affordable care act at the federal level, and really scary efforts to erode many of the support systems for low-income people."

Congressman Jim Costa says gutting the Affordable Care Act would have left half a million valley residents without health insurance. He hopes Republicans now see the need to work with Democrats in making the system better.

"The right thing to do would be to sit down with Democrats and talk about fixing the existing flaws in the system that's what Americans want us to do," he said.

But Republican congressman Tom McClintock is hoping Republicans regroup and quickly.

"Well, I certainly hope the next step is members reflect on the ramifications of this and come back on Monday sadder but wiser and ready to rescue our health care system," he said.

Fresno State political science professor Tom Holyoke doesn't believe local Republicans will be hurt politically by their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, and he sees it as a black mark for leadership and the Trump administration.

"This is probably going to hurt Paul Ryan more than it would hurt President Trump," he argued. "But nonetheless, President Trump has always sold himself as the great deal closer the man who gets things done, and yet today things did not get done."
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