WASHINGTON (WJZ/AP) — Relieved Republicans have pushed their prized health care bill through the House. The mostly party-line 217-213 vote advances a bill that addresses their longtime pledge to erase the 2010 Obama health care law.
Thursday’s vote sends the measure to the Senate. Many senators consider the House bill too harsh and it’s expected to undergo substantial changes.
Not a single Democrat supported it.
The House measure collapsed in March due to opposition by conservative and moderate GOP lawmakers. House leaders abandoned another attempt to pass the bill last week after support was lacking.
Leaders finally rounded up enough support after adding money aimed at helping seriously ill patients afford their medical costs.
Democrats said the bill would kick millions off coverage. They predicted Republicans would pay the price in next year’s elections.
“A lot of us have been waiting seven years for us to cast this vote. Many of us are here because we pledged to cast this very vote,” said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
“So we needed to do something and the bill we passed today is a win win win for Marylanders. We are going to bring premiums down, we are going to maintain all the coverages they have,” said Maryland Rep. Andy Harris (R).
Key changes include:
- Tax credits
- Some low income and older Americans would get even less financial assistance than they currently have under Obamacare.
- Insurance companies would be allowed to charge older customers more.
- It’s possible insurance companies would not be required to cover basic services like maternity care or emergency services.
While there were protests outside the U.S. capitol, democratic leaders implied republicans will pay politically.
“But you have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead. You will glow in the dark on this one,” said California Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D).
Republicans say the plan will help Americans whose premiums have gone up, but some believe the changes will only make matters worse.
“Premiums would be unaffordable and care would be unaffordable. I would have to rely on the kindness of the doctors who already know me to see me and not charge me and I don’t think that’s fare,” said Barbara Gruber of Baltimore.
Twenty House Republicans did not vote for the bill, which now heads over to the U.S. Senate and that’s expected to be an even bigger challenge.
After Thursday’s win, some Republicans took a trip to the White House.
The president called lawmakers who supported the bill a “great group of people”.
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