House Republicans successfully passed legislation aimed at repealing and replacing ObamaCare, a strong, top campaign promise of President Donald Trump and the Republicans. The initial victory is a major step toward a long-held goal of the Republicans and will put start the overhaul of the nation's health system under Trump.
It was a narrow win, but still a win is a win. With a 217-213 vote, it is considered a victory for GOP leaders, who faced such a challenging path to getting the bill to the floor. The first attempt was not as successful, as the measure was pulled in March because the Republicans knew they did not have the votes to succeed then. Continued determination on the part of Trump and Republicans led to a series of deals since the first failed attempt. The game-changer proved to be the Republicans' success this time to win over and bring on board the conservative Freedom Caucus and the previous wavering moderates.
The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, repeals the major core elements of ObamaCare, including its subsidies to help people get coverage, expansion of Medicaid, taxes and mandates for people to get coverage. As replacement, the bill provides a new tax credit with the objective of helping people buy insurance.
Republicans' main contention against the ObamaCare was that it is failing and needs to be replaced. They stressed that insurers were pulling out of certain markets. Rep. Diane Black ( R-Tenn.) who led GOP floor debate on the measure said that it has been a winding road but that they were there today to fulfill the promise that they have made to the American people.
Rep. Black said that under ObamaCare, the situation is getting worse every day. She emphasized that they can not wait a moment longer than necessary to provide relief for the American people by repealing and replacing ObamaCare.
Freedom Caucus was convinced to vote for the bill this time with an amendment that allows states to repeal one of ObamaCare's key protections for people with pre-existing conditions, known as community rating. If that were to be repealed in a state, insurers could go back to charging exorbitant premiums to sick people, which could put coverage out of reach for many. Republicans countered by pointing money for high risk pools. There was also the key last-minute addition of $8 billion more in funding for people with pre-existing conditions was crucial to winning over several previously wavering moderates.
The measure will proceed to the Senate.