Washington – House Republicans Pass Bill To Gut Obama Health Care Law In Big Win For Trump

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    US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (L), with security detail, walks to his office in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 04 May 2017.EPAWashington – Relieved Republicans muscled their health care bill through the House Thursday, taking their biggest step toward dismantling the Obama health care overhaul since Donald Trump took office. They won passage only after overcoming their own divisions that nearly sank the measure six weeks ago.

    Jubilant Republicans, celebrating what they hope will soon be the demise of “Obamacare,” sang the pop song, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” as the end of the voting neared.

    The measure skirted through the House by a thin 217-213 vote, as all voting Democrats and a group of mostly moderate Republican holdouts voted no. A defeat would have been politically devastating for President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

    Passage was a product of heavy lobbying by the White House and Republicans leaders, plus late revisions that nailed down the final supporters needed. The bill now faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where even GOP lawmakers say major changes are likely.

    “Many of us are here because we pledged to cast this very vote,” Ryan said. He added, “Are we going to keep the promises that we made, or are we going to falter?”

    Leaders rallied rank-and-file lawmakers at a closed-door meeting early Thursday by playing “Eye of the Tiger,” the rousing 1980s song from the “Rocky III” film.

    Republicans have promised to erase President Barack Obama’s law since its 2010 enactment, but this year — with Donald Trump in the White House and in full control of Congress — is their first real chance to deliver. But polls have shown a public distaste for the repeal effort and a gain in popularity for Obama’s statute, and Democrats — solidly opposing the bill — said Republicans would pay a price in next year’s congressional elections.

    “You vote for this bill, you’ll have walked the plank from moderate to radical,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., warning Republicans that voters would punish them. “You will glow in the dark on this one.”

    The bitter health care battle dominated the Capitol even as Congress prepared to give final approval to a bipartisan $1 trillion measure financing federal agencies through September. The House passed that legislation Wednesday, and certain Senate passage will head off a weekend federal shutdown that both parties preferred to avoid.

    Ryan canceled a March vote on the health care bill because disgruntled conservatives said the measure was too meek while GOP moderates said its cuts were too deep.

    He abandoned a second attempt for a vote last week. As late as Tuesday The Associated Press counted 21 GOP opponents — one short of the number that would kill the measure if all Democrats voted no.

    Over the past few weeks, the measure was revamped to attract most hard-line conservatives and some GOP centrists. In a final tweak, leaders added a modest pool of money to help people with pre-existing medical conditions afford coverage, a concern that caused a near-fatal rebellion among Republicans in recent days.

    The bill would eliminate tax penalties Obama’s law which has clamped down on people who don’t buy coverage and it erases tax increases in the Affordable Care Act on higher-earning people and the health industry. It cuts the Medicaid program for low-income people and lets states impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. It transforms Obama’s subsidies for millions buying insurance — largely based on people’s incomes and premium costs — into tax credits that rise with consumers’ ages.

    It would retain Obama’s requirement that family policies cover grown children until age 26.

    But states could get federal waivers freeing insurers from other Obama coverage requirements. With waivers, insurers could charge people with pre-existing illnesses far higher rates than healthy customers, boost prices for older consumers to whatever they wish and ignore the mandate that they cover specified services like pregnancy care.

    The bill would block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year, considered a triumph by many anti-abortion Republicans.

    GOP candidates including Trump have made repealing Obama’s statute an epitome of their campaign pledges, claiming it’s a failing system that’s leaving people with rising health care costs and less access to care.

    Republicans will “gut Obamacare and rescue the American people,” said Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.

    Democrats defended Obama’s law, one of his crowning domestic achievements, for expanding coverage to 20 million Americans and forcing insurers to offer more generous benefits. They said the GOP measure would toss millions off coverage while delivering tax cuts to the wealthy.

    “How can you do this to the American people, how can you do this to the people you represent?” asked Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in March that the GOP bill would end coverage for 24 million people over a decade. That office also said the bill’s subsidies would be less generous for many, especially lower-earning and older people not yet 65 and qualifying for Medicare.

    A CBO estimate for the cost of latest version of their bill will not be ready before the House conducts its vote.

    Earlier this week, moderates objected that constituents with pre-existing conditions could effectively be denied coverage by insurers charging them exorbitant premiums.

    But GOP leaders seemed to win over a raft of wavering lawmakers after adding $8 billion over five years for state high-risk pools, aimed at helping seriously ill people pay expensive premiums. That was on top of $130 billion already in the bill for states to help customers, though critics said those amounts were insufficient.

    The House overwhelmingly approved a second bill that Republicans wrote to snuff out a glaring political liability. The measure would delete language in the health care measure entitling members of Congress and their staffs to Obama’s coverage requirements, even if their home states annul them.

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    19 COMMENTS

    1. Mazal tov! lets scrap Medicaid completely, unfortunately Schumer, Sanders, Schultz, Feinstein and other liberals in the Senate might sabotage the great presidents efforts to help all Americans.

        • You support nationalized medicine?

          OK do you support long lines by the dr?

          Do you support a system where good dr’s won’t take your nationalized health plan because the pay out’s too low? What if C”V someone in your family gets sick and needs top specialists? (As it is many specialists either don’t take plans or charge a concierge care fee .) So for those sepcialists there will be a secondary insurance needed. Will overall costs be reduced if you need two plans? Will that solve income inequality?

          How about end of life care? Nationalized plans don’t pay much. Who will want to keep a sick guy who in all likelihood will pass away on life support?

          Will good drs be encouraged to go to med school if they get paid less than an accountant?

    2. “You vote for this bill, you’ll have walked the plank from moderate to radical,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., warning Republicans that voters would punish them. “You will glow in the dark on this one.”

      The dog barked. Get out the chocolate.

    3. A great accomplishment for the Alt-GOP in the House, gutting health insurance for 24 million Americans. What a legacy. And the trailer park Trumpf lemmings who most need health insurance will now have none. Maybe that’s a good thing…

      • “The trailer park Trumpf..will have none. Lohavdil the frumme in Lakewood, BP, Monsey, most in Kolel also voted for Trump. Maybe it’s a good thing. They needed someone to take away the “Goodies” so they can go to work like everyone else. The Chofetz Chaim ZT”L had a job.

        • Where’s the decency in killing health insurance for 24 million Americans and those who pre-existing conditions? Or maybe you like Mr. Scrooge saying, “It will reduce the surplus population.” NO doubt YOU have insurance, what about everyone else? But you don’t care. 3500 years of Jewish experience down the drain…

          • The decency lies in the fact that 175 million middle class Americans will now be experience lower premiums and won’t be charge excessive premiums to pay for the 24 million uninsured.

            And by the way that 24 million is an exaggeration like a biggly exaggeration.

    4. This vote is a display of lack of mescnhlickeit. Children with Down’s syndromeare born to rich and poor. The rich will be able to manage but the poor will not. The sad thing is that Jews , known a bnei rachmonis support this health law

      • Wrong its a lack of mentshlichkiet to support the ACA. Middle class americans not entitled to subsidies cannot afford proper coverage for their down syndrome child right now. They are currently not surviving. This will bring costs down.

        Now to your greater issue, children on a family plan won’t loose covergae becuase a down’s boy is born. Those on medciad can afford to pay 5/10% of their health care bills . Its about the same price as an i-phone per year. I pay a premuim PLUS 10% of all bills as my plan only covers 90%. Yes their is a maximum payout. If bills exceed that payout my compnay will then pay 100%. Why can’t medicad work the same way. If people had to pay for their health care costs not only would it save the 5/10% but it would add another savings as people who must pay for goods take better care of their health. Thats how they should cut medicad.

    5. We don’t understand the impact of this bill, and it will change before the Senate approves it, but people are already ridiculing it. Just shows that this country is just blindly following whichever pundit sounds the most sophisticated.

    6. The rich congressmen who are there to look out for us have never felt the burden of being poor . All that we hear is how bad the health care is in europe . The propaganda has blinded us. Forbid that we should want ”socialized medical care” for we are all good capitalists who can afford to pay the outrageous medical bills that are given here in america.

      • I don’t hear how bad it is in Europe. I”see” how bad it is. That’s why all the israeli’s come here for health care. And I have friends and family from Canada. These are not rumors. It really is very bad.

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