President Trump gets a big win and now the Senate will take up the healthcare issue
WASHINGTON – After seven years of promising to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) today the Republican House of Representatives gave President Donald Trump a big legislative win by passing the American Health Care Act by a narrow 217-213 vote. In a bit of political theatre Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R. Wisc.) proved to the president that he can deliver for him when it comes getting a bill passed.
“Today we made history by taking the first important step toward rescuing hardworking families from the failures and skyrocketing costs of Obamacare,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a statement.
Twenty Republicans voted against the bill, with the vast majority of them coming from districts that Democrats are targeting in 2018.
The bill now moves on to the Senate where the American Health Care Act will be changed drastically. By the time the members of the House see this bill again they simply won’t recognize it.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the House vote “an important step” to repealing Obama’s law and said, “Congress will continue to act on legislation to provide more choices and freedom in health care decisions.”
Both chambers are heading home for an 11-day vacation where they can tell their supporters that they did what they promised by starting the repealing and replacing Obamacare.
President Trump was happy to welcome the GOP members of Congress to the White House for a celebration. Trump expressed confidence that legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare will clear the Senate and be signed into law.
“We’re gonna get this passed through the Senate,” Trump said, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan and a host of House Republicans and administration officials gathered in the Rose Garden. “I feel so confident.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), meanwhile, called the measure a “very sad, deadly joke.”
Pelosi took the time to point out that hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts, she said the bill “will have the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of our country — Robin Hood in reverse.”
Prior to the vote a number of high profile health care industry members and patient advocacy groups from the American Heart Association to the March of Dimes denounced the GOP healthcare plan.
The bill would eliminate tax penalties Obama’s law which penalized people who chose not to buy coverage and it would erase tax increases in the Affordable Care Act on higher-earning people and the health industry. It cuts the Medicaid program for low-income people and lets states impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. It transforms Obama’s subsidies for millions buying insurance — largely based on people’s incomes and premium costs — into tax credits that rise with consumers’ ages.
It would retain Obama’s requirement that family policies cover grown children until age 26.
But according to the Associated Press, states could get federal waivers freeing insurers from other Obama coverage requirements. With waivers, insurers could charge people with pre-existing illnesses far higher rates than healthy customers, boost prices for older consumers to whatever they wish and ignore the mandate that they cover specified services like pregnancy care.
The bill would block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year, considered a triumph by many anti-abortion Republicans.
Quotes used in this story came from ASSOCIATED PRESS and the video from C-SPAN.