At long last, House Republicans were able to gather the necessary votes to pass their wide-ranging plan to repeal and replace Obamacare after multiple scrambled attempts, sending along a bill to the Senate that is expected to face significant modification and pushback from Democrats.
While the latest iteration of the bill did not manage to court a single Democrat across the aisle to support the Republican-led initiative, it did secure enough backing from the House Freedom Caucus to stagger across the finish line after a narrow 217-213 vote.
Democrats have been quick to peddle a doom-and-gloom vision of the future under the proposed law, with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) telling reporters: “Make no mistake – many people will die as a result of this bill.”
However, the mood among House Republicans was jubilant now that a long-awaited promise has finally materialized, at least in part. Lawmakers heralded the victory to the tune of the “Rocky” theme song while House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) held aloft a picture of Gen. George Patton with the quote: “Accept the challenge so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
An earlier version of the bill was canned after the Congressional Budget Office predicted that it would result in an additional 24 million Americans becoming uninsured by 2026 while reducing the deficit by $337 billion.
In response, Republicans forged an amendment that would allow states to opt out of certain controversial Obamacare programs and to opt out of a mandate that would allow insurers to charge consumers a higher price if they have pre-existing conditions.
Hours ahead of the vote, President Donald Trump expressed optimism about the bill during a National Day of Prayer event at the White House.
“Hopefully we’re going to have a wonderful day and a wonderful vote,” he said. “We’re going to take care of a lot of people, great great people from this country, with their healthcare – their healthcare needs.”