The second attempt at passing a healthcare bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act proved to be the charm for the Republican Party,at least as far as the House of Representatives was concerned. On Thursday, the Republicans finally cobbled together a bill that earned a majority in the lower chamber of Congress, passing the American Health Care Act through the House by a final vote of 217 to 213, with only Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), an expected yes vote, having yet to cast his ballot, according to The New York Times.
The healthcare bill grants President Donald Trump the ability to claim the win that he had been so desperately seeking after failing to accomplish anything of note during his first 100 days, but whether this bill will really be a win for the Republicans remains to be seen. In order to get the bill past the House, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had to make several concessions to the far-right group known as the Freedom Caucus, which had banded together to torpedo the first attempt at repealing the law known as Obamacare.
That might have worked for the Republicans today, but is likely to cause major problems when the healthcare bill arrives on the floor of the Senate. The House only required a simple majority to pass the bill, but the Senate requires a 60-vote threshold to end a filibuster before a yes-or-no vote is allowed to be taken. Given the current makeup of the Senate, that would require at least eight Democrats agreeing to take a final vote on the bill.
If Thursday’s vote was any indication, getting the healthcare bill known as the American Health Care Act to 60 votes will likely be an impossible task for the Republicans. The bill received no Democratic support, as all 193 Democrats joined with 20 Republicans to vote no. The 20 “no” votes from Republicans mostly came from either swing states or solid blue states, with Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Will Hurd (R-Texas) being the only representatives from solidly red states to vote against the measure.
In the aftermath of the vote, Democrats were chanting “na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” on the House floor, a reference to their belief that Thursday’s vote will cost the Republicans their majority in the House as those who voted for the legislation will be forced to defend their votes in 2018.
As far as the Senate is concerned, Senate Republicans have said they will try to pass the bill under reconciliation, which would allow a simple majority vote but prohibit policy changes from appearing in the bill. Even that has its problems, however, as several Republican senators have voiced concerns with the bill. That could lead to changes in the legislation, which would then go back to the House, where the Freedom Caucus has warned it will not necessarily approve a Senate-backed version of the bill.
Readers, do you expect this bill to pass the Senate? Were Republicans right to repeal Obamacare? Where do you stand on healthcare reform? Sound off in the comments below and like and share this story!
By Dan Angell
Photo Courtesy Speaker Paul Ryan