On Thursday, House Republicans narrowly approved their health care bill that targeted ObamaCare, an objective of the Republicans for the last seven years. The revised American Health Care Act passed on a 217-213 vote.
“We’re going to get this finished,” President Trump declared in a celebratory Rose Garden event, surrounded by Republican congressional supporters shortly after the vote. He vowed premiums and deductibles will be “coming down” and the Affordable Care Act is “essentially dead.”
The passage marked Republicans’ biggest step so far in their efforts toward replacing the Obama administration’s signature domestic policy law. The bill will head to the Senate, however, where it faces a lengthy deliberation process.
Not one Democrat voted in favor of the new health care bill. They argue that over twenty million people could lose coverage.
But GOP leaders cheered the result.
“Welcome to the beginning of the end of ObamaCare,” Vice President Pence said in the Rose Garden.
Trump praised House Speaker Paul Ryan, saying he’s confident in Senate passage and predicted an “unbelievable victory.”
The narrow approval Thursday was an exceptional victory for Republicans after Paul Ryan had to pull an earlier version from the floor in late March.
“A lot of us have been waiting seven years to cast this vote,” Ryan said Thursday.
Moments before the vote, Ryan appealed to colleagues to move beyond ObamaCare, which he called a “failed experiment.” Citing the situation in Iowa, where the last statewide insurer is threatening to leave, Ryan said: “This is a crisis. … What protection is ObamaCare if there is no health care plan to purchase in your state?”
Health Secretary Tom Price said that he expects the Senate to ensure the best possible bill emerges and rejected arguments from Democrats that the GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would lead to reduced coverage.
“What we want to do is have a seamless system, not pull the rug out from anybody,” Price said, claiming the proposal would ensure people with pre-existing conditions remain covered.
GOP leaders added waivers that states could claim related to ObamaCare’s coverage requirements, which includes people with pre-existing conditions. This brought lawmakers, who refused to support the March health care bill, on board with the GOP and ultimately helped the bill pass.