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WASHINGTON -- Unswayed by President Donald Trump's appeal on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford said he still believes the proposed American Health Care Act is bad legislation that would harm the country.

"As it stands right now, I'm going to vote against it," the Republican from Jonesboro said. "I can't see changing my vote to yes at this point."

Crawford, the only House member from Arkansas who plans to vote no, said the health care package will prove costly.

"When we're $20 trillion in debt, and we're facing interest rate increases, I don't want to engage in another [entitlement] program that exacerbates that problem," he said. "Big government under Republicans vs. big government under Democrats is still big government."

[INTERACTIVE: Compare new health care proposal with Affordable Care Act]

During his meeting Tuesday, Trump warned House Republicans that there may be political consequences if they vote against the legislation.

Crawford portrayed it as a friendly warning, rather than a threat.

"He is expressing his concern that he doesn't want members to face a primary challenge if they don't need to and, you know, we all have that concern," Crawford said. "I'm just going to say that I appreciate the concern and I think it's genuine and I don't read anything any further than that."

Crawford's three colleagues from Arkansas -- all Republicans -- support the legislation.

"I think it's a good first step in the health care repeal and replacement process," said U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock, noting that the Senate will make refinements. The end result will be a "more market-based, patient-centered health care approach," he said.

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U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers said the legislation is evolving and improving along the way. "There's a lot of tweaking that will take place. This is the first step in the process, so I'm happy that we're about to start down the road."

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs said he'll support the measure in Thursday's vote, adding, "I'm excited to get something to the Senate."

He said he's pleased that the bill includes a Medicaid block grant option for the states and that it would allow states to require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer or get job training.

While the legislation can still be improved, "it's way better than Obamacare. It's more patient-centered and market-focused," he added.

A Section on 03/22/2017

Print Headline: Crawford: Vote is still 'no'


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  • FreshAir
    March 22, 2017 at 10:13 a.m.

    How is this more patient centered, Westerman? Is this guy up for re-election in '18? I hate to give him any credit, but so far only Cotton has been smart enough to know that people may have been screaming to get rid of Obamacare, but most of them are morons actually using it. Once it goes away they will feel differently.
    Also, people are going to realize very quickly that this bill is just more BS. Insurance premiums, deductibles and the overall cost of healthcare in America will continue to drastically increase. The increases over the past few years had very little to do with ACA.

  • Goad
    March 22, 2017 at 10:32 a.m.

    Oxymoron market based, patient centered health care. 40 to 50% profit in system creating 5-7% GDP cost. Remove profit & health care would drop to 11-12% of GDP.

  • mrcharles
    March 22, 2017 at 11:08 a.m.

    more market-based, patient-centered health care approach!

    Why yes, I quite agree, as I have been swayed by the astute reasoning of Charla McComic, a leader of retired first grade Tennessee teachers for Ivanka's dad who is giving her an office in white house. I have told all my eligible friends to immediately ignore the Affordable Care Act and go sign up for Trumpcare, as it will do wonders to clear up the congested hospitals and doctor offices..... if you get my drift!

    Remember Aircraft carriers are a right not healthcare!

  • Whippersnapper
    March 22, 2017 at 12:58 p.m.

    Hey Goad,
    The healthcare advances we have today only exist because of the profit motive. Find one major healthcare advance that was created through a network of unpaid volunteers working for a series of non-profits. Profit and healthcare advancement are inextricably tied together, but consumer costs were abstracted from the end users with the introduction of widespread health insurance, and it eventually drove costs out of control.
    Want to fix the system? Outlaw health insurance and move everything to a market based approach. Poor folks in the 1950s paid cash to have babies delivered, and the costs were lower because folks didn't demand extras unnecessarily. When the demand for services is higher (artificially, because people view the service as "free" when it is subsidized), the costs go higher. That's basic economics.

  • carpenterretired
    March 22, 2017 at 8:40 p.m.

    Wonder if Westerman will be so excited when he has to explain his excitement over taking health care away from around 300.000 lower income working ,sick,poor and least among Arkansans (causing suffering,pain ,death) to the Lord on judgement day. Most advanced nations have government provided health care (Canadians live 2.7 years longer than people in US) and many advances not only come from the other advanced countries ,but are used in those counties before in the US. Perhaps some would benefit by turning off the Fox News Gospel of Greed long enough to read the Gospel of Matthew.