District of Columbia leaders and residents aren’t supportive about the Senate health care bill that was recently delayed for further consideration.

On June 27, U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that he was postponing the consideration of “The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” until after the July 4 recess and District residents such as Ambrose Lane, chairman of the Ward 7 Health Alliance Network told the AFRO that he is glad because he doesn’t support the bill.

“The bill is absolutely terrible,” Lane said. “This is another attempt to disenfranchise and impoverish people who are poor.”

The GOP bill would functionally repeal Obamacare with its deep cuts in Medicaid, end the individual mandate that every American must have health insurance and create a new system of federal tax credits to help people buy insurance instead of marketplaces and exchanges that some states have. The bill would also give states the option of dropping coverage of benefits such as maternity leave, emergency room services and mental health treatment.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (Courtesy Photo)

Other anti-Obamacare measures include repealing tax increases on the wealthy and cutting the capital gains tax. The Congressional Budget Office on June 26 released a score stating 22 million Americans could lose their health care coverage if the GOP bill becomes law.

While the District has no representation in the Senate, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who serves in the U.S. House of Representatives, made it clear that she dislikes the bill. Medicaid provides health insurance for 74,000 low-income children in the District of Columbia, comprising 34.5 percent of D.C.’s Medicaid population according to city statistics.

“Medicaid provides life-saving health insurance to our most vulnerable citizens, and particularly ensures low-income children and children with disabilities have access to essential healthcare,” Norton said in a statement. “The deep cuts in Medicaid would have a devastating impact on children’s hospitals like Children’s National Medical Center. If the Senate’s version of Trumpcare passes, millions of people in the D.C. area and across the country will never receive healthcare because, for the first time, this bill would limit Medicaid, regardless of the number in need, a long-held goal of Republicans.”

Norton visited the medical center on June 26 with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and D.C. Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) haven’t publicly talked about the Senate bill. However, Bowser sent a letter to House Republicans in January criticizing their efforts to repeal Obamacare and took issue with the anti-Obamacare House vote that took place in May.

Mendelson and Gray, progressive Democrats, are unlikely to support the Senate bill. When Gray was mayor from 2011- 2015, he made sure that the District was one of the first to set up its own healthcare exchange, D.C. Health Link, in compliance with Obamacare and had the support of Mendelson and Bowser, who was on the council at that time.

On Sept. 29, 2016, the D.C. Health Link reported that the District’s uninsured rate is between 3.7 percent – 4 percent.

Patrick Mara, executive director of the D.C. Republican Party, told the AFRO that his fellow District Republicans are aware of the health care debate but are trying to focus on local issues.

“We try to stay away from national discussions,” Mara said. “As a party we haven’t taken a position on the Senate health care bill. However, I am confident that local Republicans probably in the high 90s, want to repeal Obamacare.”

Lane said access to health care is essential to living in the country. “I believe that health care is a fundamental right that is as dear as the right to free speech,” he told the AFRO. “With the Senate bill, you have White men who are punishing poor people and people of color to enrich themselves. Shame on them.”