LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- About a hundred people carrying signs, some wearing bandages and walking on crutches, greeted attendees Tuesday night at a Lexington Medical Society dinner. The protesters say they are speaking out against congressman Andy Barr’s “yes” vote on the American Health Care Act the House passed last week. They say that bill would take away care from some of the most vulnerable if passed, but Congressman Barr says it will expand care.
“Shame on you, Andy Barr,” Max Thomas chanted along with a large crowd.
Thomas says a year ago, he would not have been able to be protesting. His kidneys failed. He says he has good insurance, but he is worried about the AHCA.
“This is pretty much a sellout in my mind of Kentuckians,” Thomas said.
He says he worries, if the bill passes the senate, the AHCA would take away health care from millions of poor, elderly, and sick Americans while giving tax breaks to the wealthy, young, and healthy.
“You know, we elected this guy to represent all of us and he’s ignoring us, my friends,” Thomas said.
Others say they think the bill is fiscally irresponsible and the voting, rushed.
“The rushing of this vote was political theater. It was to present a so called-win. This was a loss,” Linda Connolly said.
While Congressman Barr was speaking Tuesday night, the event was private and ABC 36 News could not ask him questions. In a statement from his office, the Congressman said after years of problems with Obamacare, the house has taken a critical step in repealing it, “…in a way that provides multiple layers of protections for people with pre-existing conditions”.
The Congressman also said he has promised to repeal and replace the “broken” law since he first ran, “…with reforms that will actually lower costs and expand access to care through patient-centered, market-based reforms.”
Barr continues, saying the AHCA does that and more. The bill goes to the Senate next for approval. If it changes, as many analysts expect, Congressman Barr and his peers would have to vote on it once again.
The Congressman’s full statement on the day the AHCA was passed:
May 4, 2017
House of Representatives takes important step in long-term effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) today voted in favor of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, legislation that will repeal most of Obamacare’s mandates, taxes, and regulations while making important reforms that will lower costs and expand access to care.
“Today is a great day for freedom in America,” said Congressman Barr. “After seven years of broken promises, lost coverage, skyrocketing premiums, thousands of pages of regulations, tax penalties, collapsing co-ops, fewer jobs, and state exchanges which are now in a death spiral of fewer choices and rising costs – the House of Representatives has taken a critical step in the process that will finally repeal and replace Obamacare. And we have done so in a way that provides multiple layers of protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”
“Since I first ran for Congress, I promised the people of the Sixth District that I would vote to repeal this broken law and replace it with reforms that will actually lower costs and expand access to care through patient-centered, market-based reforms. The American Health Care Act accomplishes these goals and more. It delivers the most important reforms to an entitlement program in American history, it cuts taxes by nearly $1 trillion, it protects life and redirects funds from Planned Parenthood to Community Health Centers, and it returns power from the federal government to the states and the people.”