President Donald Trump has expressed confidence that the GOP replacement for President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act will be passed by the Senate and signed into law. House Republicans voted to advance the legislation amid fierce controversy over its provisions.
On May 4, the American Health Care Act passed in the House by a vote of 217 to 213. The bill received no support from Democrats while 20 Republicans voted against it. While the bill had previously failed to garner enough GOP support in March, it won the necessary votes after several changes, the Washington Post reports.
Trump heralded the vote from the White House Rose Garden, flanked by House Republicans and Vice President Mike Pence.
"We won, we're gonna finish it off, and we're gonna go on to a lot of other things," Trump said, according to Politico.
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"We're gonna get this passed through the Senate," the president added. "I feel so confident ... it’s gonna be an unbelievable victory, actually, when we get it through the Senate, and there’s so much spirit there.”
House Republicans voted on the latest version of the AHCA before the Congressional Budget Office could provide an estimate of how it would impact the health care system. The CBO score of the original bill had projected it to result in 24 million fewer Americans having insurance by 2026 than if the ACA was kept in place.
The AHCA regained momentum among House Republicans after lawmakers added an amendment enabling states to seek a waiver exempting them from basic protections mandated by the ACA. Obtaining a waiver means that residents in those states could face higher insurance premiums if they have preexisting conditions, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The House Minority Leader, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, blasted her GOP colleagues shortly before the floor vote, warning them that their support for the AHCA would haunt them in the 2018 midterm elections.
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"You have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead," Pelosi said, according to Business Insider. "You will glow in the dark with this one, you will glow in the dark."
The California lawmaker added: "Forcing a vote without a CBO score shows that the Republicans are afraid of the facts ... Americans with preexisting conditions will be pushed off their insurance and segregated into high-risk pools where they will face soaring costs, worse coverage, and restricted care."
While Trump exhibited confidence that he would sign the AHCA into law, several GOP senators have expressed concern regarding the legislation.
"It appears to be unclear how people with preexisting conditions would be treated under the bill,” Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told Vox. "That's a major concern of mine."
"I don't expect we'll vote on the House bill as it is," Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana added. "I expect we will put forward our alternative."