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Trump and Republicans set up healthcare vote, hoping to win

Trump is seeking to make good on his campaign promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

world Updated: May 04, 2017 21:46 IST
Yashwant Raj
Donald Trump and Mike Pence at the Rose Garden of the White House on Thursday.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence at the Rose Garden of the White House on Thursday.(AP)

US President Donald Trump, after the last failed attempt, said he wasn’t done trying to repeal and replace his predecessor’s health care law. With his full and active support, House Republicans took another crack at it on Thursday, hoping and insisting they had the votes to win this time.

If passed, the American Health Care Act, as the new legislation is called, will go to the senate for passage for it to replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — also called Obamacare — which Republicans have ranted and run against since its enactment in 2011.

A “yes” vote in the House will be the first major legislative victory for Trump, whose famed deal-making abilities came under blistering attack the last time they tried, and failed. The Republican leadership, who couldn’t guarantee the numbers needed from its own members for it to pass, had withdrawn it instead of letting it fall.

Passage in the House, however, will not mean the end of Obamacare. Many Senate Republicans do not agree with everything in the House legislation and more negotiations and changes will follow before the party is able to deliver on its chief poll promise of years, and that may not be the replacement of all of Obama’s healthcare provisions, lock, stock and barrel.

Some provisions will survive, such as the one prohibiting insurers from turning down clients with pre-existing medical conditions, which are extremely popular with Americans, cutting across party lines and President Trump himself has said he would like to retain it in the replacement bill.

Critics of the provision argue it pushes up insurance premiums for everyone, and many conservative Republicans wanted to do away with it thus But moderate Republicans wanted to retain it, and had threatened to vote against any legislation that did not cover pre-existing condition.

A compromise was found on Wednesday, and backed by Trump, to set aside $8 billion for states to pay for pre-existing conditions, gave the Republican leadership the votes needed to win and thus the confidence to schedule the vote for Thursday.