US House votes to repeal, replace Obamacare, Senate battle looms
May 06 2017 by Lorena Waters
It is one of the first major legislative victories for President Donald Trump, who made repeal-and-replace a cornerstone of his campaign.
And that was in a chamber Republicans control 238-193.
Under the American Health Care Act - which passed the House yesterday with support from 217 out of 237 Republicans - individual states would have the ability to opt out of an Obamacare requirement that forced insurers to charge the same for people with and without pre-existing conditions. Twenty Republicans bolted from their leadership to vote no.
Big changes could be coming to our nation's healthcare, after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Critics and health experts slammed the figure as woefully insufficient to cover the enormous cost they say would be associated with high-risk pools.
The bill passed by the House doesn't make any cuts to Medicare, but it does call for about $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid by phasing out an expansion of the program under Obamacare and restructuring the program.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is accused of maintaining a veil of secrecy around the process, defended the urgency of the move by pointing to two more health care providers announcing they will pull out of the exchanges set up under Obamacare, in the state of Virginia.
To finance the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration increased taxes for families with incomes greater than $250,000 a year.
Passing the Bill in the House of Representatives is only the first step for the GOP.
Republican senators also represent states ravaged by deaths caused by opioid abuse.
"At this time, I can not support the AHCA with the MacArthur amendment because I'm concerned that a small percentage of those with preexisting conditions may still not be protected", Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, who sits in a district Clinton won, said in his statement explaining his decision. Baker said he worries funding cuts could threaten a half a million people in MA who rely on Medicaid.
Meanwhile, the need to reach an agreement between the House, Senate, and White House will likely delay the introduction of a tax reform bill, which had been expected in early June.
Before the Obama reforms, people who got a serious medical problem could be cut off from their health coverage once they hit their insurance limit.
Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have opposed cutting federal money for Planned Parenthood.
The bill would block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year, considered a triumph by many anti-abortion Republicans. Some senators may be hoping for an easy out by only making superficial changes.
"Don't know what's in it", Senator Lindsey Graham said before the vote. Even if the measure passes the House, it faces daunting odds in the Senate where Republicans hold a narrower majority.
Democrats and other opposing voices say it will leave millions uninsured, with some predicting the bill will founder or have to be rewritten in the Senate for that reason.
Democrats clearly like the talking point that Republicans exempted Congress from the AHCA - and if the AHCA were enacted, Democrats would have the power to filibuster the companion bill and make it a matter of law.