Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, the House Ways & Means Committee considered amendments to the Republican health plan and voted to advance the bill in Congress, despite not yet having any estimate for the bill’s cost or impact from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (AL-D) offered amendments to the bill that would prohibit increases in taxes and medical costs for rural farmers and prevent rural hospital closures. The amendments offered by Rep. Sewell were defeated in party-line votes. Rep. Sewell opposed the Republican repeal bill when the Committee voted to advance the bill.

“I voted against today’s GOP repeal bill for one simple reason: it would raise health costs for working families and struggling Americans while decreasing their quality of coverage,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “My constituents work hard to provide for their families, and additional health costs jeopardize their access to care. The Republican health bill would bankrupt low-income families and the rural hospitals that depend on their access to care by eliminating income-based support for health coverage, slashing Medicaid, and erasing preventative care coverage. The amendments I offered today would have protected rural Americans from increased health costs and growing health disparities. Without those safeguards for working families, and with no estimate yet for this bill’s cost, I could not in good conscience vote for this legislation.”

Among the amendments offered by Rep. Sewell was a measure that would prohibit the Republican health bill from increasing taxes or medical costs for rural farmers and farmers with disabilities. Rep. Sewell drew inspiration for the amendment from a rural farmer in Alabama whose access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act saved him from financial disaster.

Rep. Sewell also spoke at the hearing about the need to protect against increased health disparities for minority populations. For a wide range of diseases today, the mortality rate for African Americans is much higher than that for other populations. With cancer, for instance, the mortality rate among African Americans is 20 percent higher than it is for white populations.

Rep. Sewell voted against the Republican repeal bill when it passed the Ways & Means Committee early Thursday morning in a party-line vote.


Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.