The House on Thursday passed a narrowly approved revised bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. A level of optimism displayed by some GOP leaders, before the vote, would become evident in their comments to the press. Many stating they would schedule—and win a vote in the House to repeal Obamacare. White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and economic adviser, Gary Cohn, predicted on Monday “The bill would hit the House floor before lawmakers leave town late Thursday for a weeklong recess.” Cohn stated that the GOP had enough support to win the vote.
The goal of the majority Republican House was to recover from earlier setbacks and deliver on redefining American health care void of mandates on insurance coverage. Voting along party lines would secure enough Republican support for what was viewed as the GOP’s most significant legislative priority.
The 217-213 vote set the stage for the Republicans to reverse the legacy of President Barack Obama’s legislative achievements. Despite the success of the health care bill, the House measure faces another hurdle in the Senate, not only will the measure face uncertainty, the legislation’s steep spending cuts in all likelihood will be moderated.
Before the House vote on Thursday, the Senate gave final approval to a $1.1 trillion spending bill slated to finance the government through September. It is important to note that unlike the health care legislation, the spending bill had broad bi-partisan support.
Passage of the health care bill on Thursday could be compared to a form of political resuscitation, which some would consider a notable achievement. Six weeks after House leaders failed to muster the votes to pass an earlier version of their bill— the outcome was a defeat that many in the GOP considered a severe blow, not only to the party but a major blow to President Trump and House Speaker Ryan (R-WI).
The bill, replacing Obamacare subsidies with a system of tax credits, cleared the House on a narrow vote of 217 to 213. No Democrats voted for the measure, notably referred to as the American Health Care Act. Review the text of the bill H.R. 1628
Republicans and President Donald Trump campaigned on replacing Obamacare, and the House’s action brings them a step closer to a chief policy goal. As the House voted, Trump tweeted the plan would be “great health care!”
Passage of the bill follows a failed effort by House Republican leaders in March, when Republicans withdrew the American Health Care Act moments before a scheduled vote due to lack of support from lawmakers. Addressing the House before the vote, Speaker Paul Ryan thanked Trump for his “steadfast leadership” and said lawmakers were ending the “failed experiment” of Obamacare.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) slammed the health care bill in a news conference on Thursday, referring to the measure “a stupid bill” that is a “deconstruction of government” and not an improvement.
President Donald Trump tweeted Pelosi’s speech that he is “watching Democrats trying to defend the ‘you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan & premiums will go down’ Obamacare lie.”
As the GOP secured a majority of votes, Democrats begin singing “Na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye” across the aisle, in what was likely a taunt at Republicans’ 2018 prospects.
The bill will be a big tax cut, of about $1 trillion over the next decade. It would repeal the 2.3% tax on the sales of medical devices, a 10% tax on indoor tanning services and a 3.8% investment tax on wealthy Americans.
The health care bill faces a huge hurdle and will more than likely undergo several changes in the Senate before a final vote. The GOP, already under pressure to pass the measure can only afford to lose two votes in the Senate. Leaders plan on using a budget process known as reconciliation to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday “When they send it over here, it’ll be a real big challenge on the Senate side as well,” Trump has pressed Congress to get rid of the filibuster for legislation, which could make passage easier.