House Republicans Pass Bill to Replace and Repeal Obamacare
BY SUSAN JOHNES
On Thursday, the House narrowly approved legislation to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act.
That occurred as Republicans recovered from their earlier failures. They moved a step closer to delivering on their manifesto to reshape American health care without mandated insurance coverage.
The outcome of the vote was 217 to 213, held on President Trump’s 105th day in office. It is a significant step in what could be a long legislative road.
Even though twenty Republicans voted no, the win maintains the party’s dream of stopping President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
The Senate gave final approval on Thursday just before the House vote, to a $1.1 trillion spending bill that had bipartisan support, unlike other health care legislation. It will finance the government through September.
The passage of the health care bill completed a remarkable act of political resuscitation. It happened six weeks after House leaders failed to muster the votes to pass an earlier version of the measure.
Democrats voted unanimously against the bill. Even though they lost, they vowed to make Republicans pay a political price for pushing such unpopular legislation.
The House bill would eliminate tax penalties particularly for people who go without health insurance. It would roll back state-by-state expansions of Medicaid, which covered millions of low-income Americans.
Besides, the bill would offer tax credits depending on the age, roughly $2,000 to $4,000 a year. A family could receive nearly $14,000 a year in credits, reduced for individuals and families making over $75,000 a year and $150,000 respectively.
The Bill puts the average insurance premiums at between 15 to 20 percent, higher in 2018 and 2019. Under current law, they would be lower than projected after that.
Republicans have promised seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Under that, around 20 million Americans will gain health coverage.
But they had a great difficulty devising a complete replacement because of the lack of consensus on how much of the law should be repealed. Their doubts were reinforced by constituents who said the health law had saved their lives.
Doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers joined patient advocacy groups like the American Cancer Society and AARP in opposing the repeal bill.
In truth, Republicans argued, with many problems afflicting the Affordable Care Act, the status quo is unsustainable, regardless of what Congress does.
Hours before the vote, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, “Death spiral!”
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