Pelosi visits Austin as Texas lawmakers call for Obamacare repeal

Minority Leader Pelosi touring Seton's new teaching hospital in downtown Austin.

AUSTIN (KXAN) —  Democrats in Washington could soon be back on the defense. Over the weekend, lawmakers will get an amendment to revive the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and Texas lawmakers have been quick to weigh in.

U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was in Austin Thursday, alongside U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, to tour the new teaching hospital Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas. As she visiting the new site, Pelosi took the chance to talk about what is next for Obamacare.

“Once he takes repeal off the table, we can talk. We know how to make accommodations,” said Pelosi. If the Republicans drop their effort to repeal the current law, Pelosi says she’s ready to make a deal.

U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Lloyd Doggett tour Seton's new teaching hospital on April 20, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Tom Rapp)
U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Lloyd Doggett tour Seton’s new teaching hospital on April 20, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Tom Rapp)

The newest change would still allow people to stay on their parent’s health plan until they’re 26 years old and it would still cover pre-existing conditions. States would also be allowed to apply for waivers to create their own “essential benefits,” which would determine which items health insurance must cover. Under ACA the list of “essential benefits” was mandatory for any ACA provider.

“It was a bad idea before and now they made it worse by saying “essential” is now optional,” said Pelosi, referring to the amendment.

“She’s dead wrong. She’s a woman that passes a 2,000-page document and says we’ll read it after we pass it. It’s been a complete nightmare and I think she’s to blame,” said Texas Senator Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway.

The Texas Senate just passed a resolution by Buckingham, calling for an immediate repeal. While more Texans are covered under ACA, premiums went up and insurance companies left the federal healthcare marketplace. She led the effort to set up a committee meant to recommend state policy to match changes in Washington.

“For repealing every bit of it that we can possibly repeal. So, sometimes that’s a multi-step approach. Sometimes it’s one fell swoop. It looks like in this case it will be a multi-step approach and we just want to help our congressional delegation in any way we can,” said Buckingham.

She represents the predominant view in the Texas legislature. They want money for Texas health care through a block grant, without the strings attached from Washington. The White House is expected to gauge support for the new plan over the weekend, with a possible vote next week if they get enough Republicans on board.

Travis County Republicans denounced her visit. “Nancy Pelosi should be embarrassed to speak at a medical school,’ said Travis CountyRepublican Chair James Dickey. They say her support for the Affordable Care Act left people with “fewer health plan choices, rising premiums, reduced access to doctors calling the bill a failure.”

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