WATERLOO — Republican 1st District U.S. Rep. Rod Blum said he supported the Friday afternoon decision to pull the American Health Care Act, a bill proposed by Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“I support the president’s decision to pull the AHCA bill,” Blum said in a statement. “Throughout this process, I have been consistent in stating that the main goal of any reform bill must be to make health care more affordable for hardworking American families. Unfortunately, the AHCA fell short of that goal, and for that reason I could not support it.”
Blum, a second-term lawmaker from Dubuque, came out against the AHCA proposal Tuesday and had opposed it since, even as it underwent changes in an attempt to get it passed in the U.S. House.
He said, however, he’s not deterred from trying to repeal and replace Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act.
“I believe Congress should slow down and discuss in an open and transparent manner the best solutions to address the real problem: the unsustainably high cost of health care in America,” Blum said.
Since coming out against the bill, Blum has focused on the desire to ensure health care costs go down for Americans.
“#AHCA doesn’t do enough to lower premiums for hardworking Americans. I’m a ‘no’ on current version — need to drive down actual costs!” Blum tweeted Tuesday.
Shortly after the bill was pulled Friday, he sent a similar tweet, praising Republican President Donald Trump for pulling the proposal and adding, “let’s fix this and drive down health care costs for hardworking Americans” before releasing a formal statement.
Blum’s calling for a slowed-down process seems to be likely.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., held a press conference Friday afternoon, where he said, “Obamacare is the law of the land. It’s going to remain the law of the land until it’s replaced. We did not quite have the votes to replace this law, so yeah, we’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
Blum said in his statement he won’t listen to what “the political class” at the Capitol wants him to do but rather to “do what I think is right for the citizens of eastern Iowa.”
Though the bill was pulled, it did not stop a rally from being held outside Blum’s office Saturday led by the progressive group Americans for Democratic Action Iowa.
“We cautiously welcome news that there will be no vote (Friday) on the current version of the American Health Care Act, but this is just the start of the fight,” said ADA Iowa field organizer Chris Schwartz. “Rep. Blum was one of the GOP congresspeople who pledged to vote no on the American Health Care Act but we fear that he is holding out for an even worse option that would leave more families uninsured.”