House of Representatives Passes Bill to Repeal and Replace Obamacare
The House of Representatives voted on Thursday in favor of the American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. This marks a step forward for congressional Republicans in their years-long quest to repeal Obamacare, the 2010 law that reshaped the country's individual health insurance market.
The vote was 217 in favor, 213 opposed, with Republicans providing all the support and Democrats unified in opposition, where they were joined by 20 Republicans in voting no. The bill will now move to the Senate, where it is widely expected to be significantly altered. Republicans hold a much smaller majority in the upper house, and multiple GOP senators have already expressed reservations about the AHCA.
There would be further steps following that -- it would have to return to the House for a follow-up vote on the Senate-changed legislation, then it goes to the White House for President Trump's signature -- before the AHCA can actually become the law of the land. But no question, this represents clearing a major hurdle on the path to fulfilling the promise the GOP has been making for every national election since 2010.
Republicans celebrated the vote, which looked to be in serious peril just days ago. “We are all breathing a sigh of relief,” said Representative Chris Collins (R., N.Y.). “We’re living up to a campaign promise we made, the Senate made, the president made.”
“This bill delivers on the promises that we have made to the American people,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said on the House floor just before the vote. “A lot of us have been waiting seven years to cast this vote."
The entire GOP conference headed over to the White House following the vote for a press conference and to exchange congratulations. There, President Trump offered his thanks to the House leadership, before taking a victory lap himself. He promised the bill would pass the Senate and that people's premiums and deductibles would go down.
The Senate has not said when it will take up the House bill for debate, though an announcement is expected in the coming days.