US House clears GOP bill to replace Obamacare, but still long way to go for Trump | world-news | Hindustan Times
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US House clears GOP bill to replace Obamacare, but still long way to go for Trump

The bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is known, passed the US House of Representatives Thursday handing President Donald Trump his first major legislative victory

world Updated: May 05, 2017 01:31 IST
Yashwant Raj
US House

The bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is known, passed the US House of Representatives Thursday handing President Donald Trump his first major legislative victory. (Reuters File Photo)

The bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is known, passed the US House of Representatives Thursday handing President Donald Trump his first major legislative victory and the Republican party a near term victory with the promise of more.

But for the American Health Care Act, as the replacement bill is called, to become law though, it still needs to pass the Senate, where it could run into some unhappy Republicans, and there are no guarantees it will complete the course.

With the 217-213 vote, Republicans obtained just enough support to push the legislation through the House, sending it to the Senate for consideration. No Democrats voted for the bill.

As lawmakers left the House complex after the votes, they were greeted by people, mostly Democrats and supports of Obamacare, chanting “shame”. And aides of former President Barack Obama vented on social media.

A 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 to replace the law that Republicans and ranted and ran against since 2011, the year it was enacted. The Republican leadership, who couldn’t guarantee the numbers needed, from their own members for it to pass, had withdrawn it instead of letting it fall.

The new bill will undergo changes in the senate, by Republicans who don’t like everything their colleagues from the House have sent to them to consider and pass. And there are no guarantees the law will clear the upper chamber.

And even when enacted, the new law is expected to retain some elements of Obamacare such as the one prohibiting insurers from turning down clients with pre-existing medical conditions that remain 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 have argued that 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 found late 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.