Breaking News!!: Washington, DC: United States House of Representatives passes a Republican health care bill replacing the Affordable Care Act.
The United States House of Representatives voted by the slimmest of margins on Thursday, May 4th, 2017 in Washington, District of Columbia to pass a Republican health care bill replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Republicans passed the bill by a vote of 217 to 213, just a vote over the 216 needed.
The bill will be sent to the United States Senate where there are 52 Republican members in the United States Senate.
The United States Senate will not need any Democrats to pass the bill because they are using a procedural mechanism that allows the bill to pass the Senate with just 51 votes instead of the usual 60 vote threshold.
House Speaker Paul Ryan took to the members of the United States House of Representatives ahead of the vote to argue that “Obamacare” was failing.
“We can continue with the status quo or we can put this collapsing law behind us and end this failed experiment,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Democrats in the United States House of Representatives chamber reportedly waved at Republicans members after the vote and sang, “hey, hey, hey — goodbye.”
** Key Measures in the Bill: **
- Mandates: It guts the IRS requirement in Obamacare that people with purchase health insurance or face a fine.
- Tax Credits: The bill replaces subsidies for people to purchase insurance in the individual market in the Affordable Care Act based on income with refundable tax credits based on age. The impact is that it will provide more people with assistance but with fewer dollars, especially for the older Americans.
- Medicaid: The Medicaid expansion is frozen immediately and in 2 years the states can start to adopt either a block grant for the program or a new formula based on population instead of need. In an attempt to make the bill more conservative, work requirements have been added for most able-bodied recipients who aren’t pregnant or caring for a child under 6.
- High Risk Pools: The bill provides $130 billion to states over ten years for high risk insurance pools to cover the most expensive to insure. A new amendment by Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan adds an additional $8 billion to assist people with pre-existing conditions.
- State Waivers: States can obtain waivers so insurers don’t have to offer robust benefits packages that include maternity care and mental health coverage. Waivers can also be obtained to charge sicker people and people with pre-existing conditions more. Those people would most likely then go into the high risk insurance pools.
- Taxes: It repeals every Obamacare tax including the .9 percent tax on couples making more than $250,000 and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income.
- Health Savings Accounts: The measure increases the allowable contribution limits of Health Savings Accounts.
- Other: It keeps the Obamacare provision that people under the age of 26 can stay on their parents’ insurance.
NBC News is reporting that the United States House of Representatives measure came to the floor without an updated accounting of how much the bill will cost or its impact.
The last assessment, which was done before the bill was altered, said that 24 million people would lose insurance, it would save $300 million and premiums would go down ten percent after ten years.
According to Georgia Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk, having no updated CBO score is slightly concerning.
“It is a concern, but at this point we have to move forward. The American people are clear they want this done, so I think we have to strike when the iron’s hot,” said Georgia Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk.
More information and reaction is still coming into ZachNews.