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May 05, 2017

Pat Toomey on repealing, replacing Obamacare: 'I look forward to being a part of this process'

House Republicans took their first steps Thursday in passing a GOP-led health care bill that looks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and Sen. Pat Toomey is ready to take on what's next to come. 

"The House bill is merely the first legislative step, and I look forward to being a part of this process as the Senate writes its own version to repeal and replace Obamacare so that Pennsylvanians can have access to quality health care at a price they can afford," Toomey said in a statement.

The measure passed the House by a thin 217-213 vote, a victory for House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump after Republican leaders sought for seven years to do away with "Obamacare."

GOP leaders succeeded this week after a failed first attempt in March. The bill will now move onto the Senate, where a number of changes are expected. 

“Given the massive spikes in premiums and deductibles so many Pennsylvania families are enduring, the loss of choices and the collapse of individual markets, we have begun the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare," Toomey also said in the statement. "At the same time, the administration has begun a series of important regulatory reforms and actions to stabilize the health care market."

In a March radio interview, Toomey said he was "disappointed" that the first plan didn't make it to the House floor but believed that the decision was merely a "setback." 

Toomey was largely criticized earlier this year for being unresponsive to calls, emails and demonstrations requesting in-person town hall meetings. Social media users on Thursday quickly encouraged Toomey to "vote no" on the plan, while demonstrators organized a "Tell Pat Toomey: Vote NO on the AHCA!" event.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., was vocal on social media following Thursday's passage, calling the bill "a scheme to cut taxes for millionaires and big corporations." 

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney also urged constituents to call their senators and tell them to vote "no" on the AHCA.

Note: A previous version of this story noted that the group Tuesdays With Toomey organized the Thursday demonstration. The detail has been corrected to reflect that multiple demonstrators were involved.