The proposed law will now make its way to the Senate, where accumulating votes from moderate Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski is bound to be difficult. The GOP has just a 52-48 majority in the upper chamber.
After voting more than 50 times to repeal or alter the Affordable Care Act over the past seven years, GOP leaders have succeeded in passing Trump’s American Health Care Act in the lower chamber of the legislature. Many argue the bill amounts to little more than a transfer of wealth to Trump’s mega-rich peers.
The first versions of Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s reformed health bill were criticized by Republican and Democrats alike for being too expensive while simultaneously stripping millions of people of insurance coverage. Just six weeks ago, GOP leaders pulled the proposed before even going to the House floor to save themselves the embarrassment of losing a vote. On Thursday, lawmakers finally had the opportunity to vote on the AHCA and now it will head to the Senate. It will likely be difficult to get a majority of senators to vote in favor of the AHCA, but leaders say they have a responsibility to put something on the president’s desk.
Notably, the latest version of bill has not been scored by the independent Congressional Budget Office, so lawmakers were essentially voting blind when it comes to how the new law will impact the debt and deficit, and how many people can be expected to lose coverage.
Earlier versions of the bill would have kept some of the most popular protections from Obamacare in place for people who work in Congress, but an amendment passed before the AHCA votes eliminates some if not all of those loopholes.
One of the most contentious issues in the bill is that it allows insurers to use price discrimination against individuals with pre-existing health conditions.