House Passes Obamacare Repeal Bill

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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The House passed an Obamacare replacement bill in a 217- 213 vote Thursday, in a successful second attempt to deal with the health-care law.

The bill’s passage comes after weeks of negotiations. Republicans floundered in their first attempt to pass an overhaul bill in March, after a lack of consensus among members of the different factions of the conference derailed the legislation. Vice President Mike Pence played a pivotal role in its success the second time around in the House, having helped lead the renewed negotiation efforts among rank-and-file members.

The bill’s likelihood of passing appeared shaky earlier in the week. A number of members pushed back against the measure over fears it didn’t do enough to cover pre-existing conditions after an amendment — brokered between Tuesday Group Co-Chairman Tom MacArthur and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows — to allow states to waive a number of Title I regulations was agreed upon. But another amendment introduced by Michigan Rep. Fred Upton to provide an additional $8 billion to help cover those with pre-existing conditions with a lapse in coverage managed to sway enough lawmakers to give leadership the votes needed to pass.

Twenty Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the measure, including Pennsylvania Reps. Pat Meehan, Ryan Costello and Charlie Dent of the Tuesday Group , and conservative Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Andy Biggs of Arizona.

Top Republicans, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, asserted those with pre-existing conditions would not lose coverage.

Leadership praised its success in the lower chamber, saying they are proud the conference could come together to work to improve the legislation.

“This was a great win for the American people and it proved we can put a very complicated coalition together to tackle some really important things,” Scalise told reporters. “And look, families across the country are suffering under Obamacare, it’s failing and we said we are going to rescue people from it was hard to get there, but we worked and never stopped working to get this done.”

McCarthy said they have learned from the process, which will help them accomplish their future legislative goals like tax reform.

“Well, I think we can learn a lot of lessons for tax reform from this process of moving people together earlier,” he told reporters.

House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady echoed McCarthy’s comments, saying he believes passing health care will make overhauling the tax code easier.

“I’m very pleased, the process works and it’s improved every step of the way, it proved Republicans can deliver on their promise of affordable care and builds momentum as we go forward on tax reform,” Brady told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

GOP lawmakers boarded a bus to head to the White House for a celebration of the bill’s passage with President Donald Trump following the vote.

The health care bill is now slated to head to the Senate, where large parts of the language are expected to be revised.

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