Don Young may vote ‘no’ on replacing Obamacare

When the bill to replace Obamacare comes to his desk, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, isn’t sure how he will vote.

In a conference call with reporters, Young called the atmosphere on Capitol Hill a “bubbling cauldron of indecision,” and he isn’t sure what the final version of the bill in the U.S. House will look like.

Young, who has been a passionate advocate for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), said he still believes it should be repealed but doesn’t think the bill backed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, is the best way to do that.

“Right now, I’m not convinced that what we have is the best option,” Young said.

Representatives in the House were expected to be presented with a set of changes Monday night, and a vote on the proposal could come as soon as Thursday.

Young said that before the changes, “Alaska stands to lose the most” in the way of tax credits subsidizing individual Alaskans’ health care plans.

“We are working to see if we can’t make the situation … more equitable,” Young said.

If that doesn’t happen, he indicated that he will vote ‘no’ on the bill, which is being pushed by the leadership of the 435-member U.S. House.

“I’m fighting hard to make sure Alaska’s getting equitable treatment across the board,” Young said.

The margins are surprisingly tight for an idea that appeared to have widespread support among Republicans before the November elections. In the campaign before that election, Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a new system.

After the election, Republican leaders modified their stance and instead proposed a bill that would change elements of the existing system but leave much of it intact.

“It’s not the repeal of Obamacare as we said we were going to do,” Young said.

If House Democrats remain united in opposition to the Republican plan, House leaders can afford to lose the votes of only 21 Republicans, or the bill will fail.

A list kept Monday by the newspaper The Hill indicated 17 Republicans had already said they would vote against the measure. The leader of the House’s conservative 40-person “Freedom Caucus” predicted it would fail if it came up for a vote Thursday.

Speaking to reporters, Young said he favors repealing Obamacare, not modifying it. He would rather the House pass a “one paragraph” repeal effective in 2019 or 2020. Congress would then have two or three years to draft a replacement.

“We could really write a good healthcare bill if we sat down and thought about it,” Young said. “I think we ought to step back, take a deep breath, and say, what do we really want to have?”

 


 

Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 419-7732.

 


 

More in News

Meals slated for children in Juneau over Thanksgiving weekend are arrayed on tables at Thunder Mountain High School on Nov. 25, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Luke Adams)
Font of plenty: JSD readies meals for Thanksgiving holiday

Nearly three tons of food got distributed for the long weekend.

Travelers arrive at the Juneau International Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, made up only about half of what the airport normally sees in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Centennial Hall, seen here on Tuesday, Nov. 24, is being used by the City and Borough of Juneau as an emergency facility during the coronavirus pandemic and will not host the annual Public Market which has taken place every weekend after Thanksgiving since 1983. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Want to buy Alaskan? Closed by pandemic, Public Market goes virtual

Normally throngs of Juneauites would be lined up around the block…

To capture the unexpected action- the unrepeatable moment- it should be instinctive.  In order to build the story you have to shoot the adjective.  In this photo the bald eagle had waited patiently for the right moment to pounce on an unsuspecting vole… the unexpected.  The best way to accomplish this is to master the art of the most difficult subject to photograph– birds in flight.  In order to do this you must learn your gear; it must become part of your muscle memory so you can concentrate on the story you are witnessing.  Canon 5D Mark III, Tamron 150-600mm, shot at 600mm, ISO AUTO (1250), F6.3, 1/3200, Handheld. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
Focal Point: Great photos are just waiting in the wings

Learn to shoot the verb (and the bird).

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Construction of the new Glory Hall, above, is going smoothly, said executive director Mariya Lovishchuk on Nov. 24, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Thor Lindstam)
Building a brighter future: New Glory Hall reaches skyward

The structure is rapidly progressing, shouldering aside inclement weather.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Tuesday, Nov. 24

The most recent state and local numbers.

A sign seen near Twin Lakes on Sept. 17 encourages residents to wear cloth face coverings while in public. Health officials are asking Alaskans for help with contact tracing. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Health officials seek help with virus notification

Recent surge created a contact tracing backlog.

Most Read