White House: After several false starts, with opposition from within the ranks of the House GOP that held up an earlier effort of the House Republicans to pass a bill to replace Obamacare, on Thursday, the US House barely passed the bill that Republicans want to become the nation’s new healthcare law.
By a vote of 217- 213, with 20 Republican members voting with all Democrats against the bill, the measure was approved with just a two vote margin.
Following the vote the Republican Caucus went to the White House as the President made remarks on its passage. The President went out of his way to applaud the efforts of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The President said, “This has brought the Republican Party together.”
He added that this victory will lay the foundation for also passing a massive tax reform package, that Republicans hope to pass later in the year.
Speaker Ryan at the White House ceremony said, “The was a collaborative, consensus process.” Speaker Ryan also thanked the President and for being more involved in the legislative process, than the other four Presidents he’d served under.
Speaker Ryan said he knows the Senate will move the bill, because the issues are too important to not pass. He noted the continuing diminishment of insurance companies participating in Obamacare, with Iowa now being completely devoid of insurance carriers engaged in Obamacare coverage.
Speaker Ryan, “What kind of coverage does Obamacare provide if no insurance companies are participating?”
In a separate press conference on Capitol Hill, former Speaker, Nancy Pelosi noted beer had been carried in to the White House and referred to the White House ceremony as a “beer party.” Rep Pelosi referred to the healthcare bill as the “biggest wealth transfer to the rich, in history.”
Under this bill, individual states will have more say in what is covered, so those items that are covered will vary according to each state. The bill does have a provision for pre-existing conditions, where the federal govt puts in money to “risk pools” for those with high cost pre-existing conditions. The idea is that this is a better way of keeping costs down for the majority of Americans, rather than the Obamacare plan, that raised rates on everyone, to pay the cost of those with pre-existing conditions.
The bill will now go to the US Senate, where it is expected changes will be made. Any changes made to the bill in the Senate will then have to be worked out with House members in a Conference Committee, and then both the House and Senate will have to vote again on that final version, and signed into law by the President before Obamacare is no longer the governing law on healthcare.