Rep. Joe Kennedy calls GOP health care repeal bill ‘an act of malice’

Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. –Paul Sancya / Associated Press

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Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III gave a blistering rebuke of the GOP’s proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act as legislators on two different house committees debated the bill through the night.

Calling the bill “an act of malice,” Kennedy said during the meeting of the Energy and Commerce Committee he was struck by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s statement that the new bill was “an act of mercy.”

Despite opposition, the measure was ultimately approved by the Ways and Means Committee hours before dawn Thursday. The bill abolishes the tax penalty Obama’s statute imposes on people who don’t purchase insurance and would reshape how millions of Americans buy medical care.

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“With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different scripture,” Kennedy said. “The one that I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick. It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful but by how we care for the least among us.”

Kennedy went on to say: “There is no mercy in a system that makes healthcare a luxury.”

Kennedy continued to attack the plan as the meeting continued into Thursday morning, at one point drawing an acknowledgement from Republicans that the bill would remove coverage for mental health care.