Donald Trump had a reason to celebrate as House Republicans carried the day, after a long fight, voting by a narrow margin for the bill that will repeal and replace Obamacare. This was one of the President’s prime campaign promises, and has proven much harder than he first anticipated during the campaign.
The bill, laden with compromises and provisions to win the support of the more extreme conservatives in the House, like members of the far-right Freedom Caucus, who had blocked a previous effort, must now face scrutiny in the Senate, which will be a tough road to travel.
Democrats presented a unified front, with no defectors, voting 293 against the republican bill, and 0 for it, while republicans voted 217 for, 20 against, permitting the bill to pass by 217 to 213 (with one abstention)—-a victory by a very narrow 4 vote margin.
Since the bill must still pass through a skeptical Senate, with only a narrow 2 seat majority for republicans, and since there are several republican Senators publicly critical of the bill, there’s no guarantee that repeal and replace will become the law of the land.
Republicans have long bristled at the notion that Americans must purchase insurance products under a government mandate of any kind, which is how they viewed the Affordable Care Act. The new legislation affords a number of opt-out opportunities to quell this concern.
But if the bill does pass, democrats and concerned citizens fear that 24 million Americans will lose health insurance coverage over the next decade. In addition, many fear that protections for patients with pre existing conditions, one of the strengths of the Affordable Care Act, will be greatly weakened, potentially endangering the lives of many sick and injured Americans.
Learn more about what the new health care bill faces in the Senate (The New York Times)