The House of Representatives has voted 217-213 to overturn the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, and replace it with a new national health care plan, the American Health Care Act — most details not yet known, even by some who voted for it:
Despite more than six years of campaign pledges to undo the ACA and the recent changes to the legislation, several Republican lawmakers admitted Thursday that they have not read the bill or ignored questions about their understanding of it shouted by reporters. Republicans have accused Democrats in the past of ramming their health-care bill through without giving members a chance to absorb it — but on Thursday they insisted that they are not doing the same thing.
As it passed, mocking singing could be heard echoing across the floor:
"Na na na na, Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye!" - House Democrats to Republicans who voted for #AHCA
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) May 4, 2017
House Republicans were jubilant:
“A lot of us have been waiting seven years to cast this vote,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday.
Capping a fiery debate moments before the vote, Ryan appealed to colleagues to move beyond ObamaCare, which he called a “collapsing law” and “failed experiment.” Citing the situation in Iowa, where the last statewide insurer is threatening to leave, Ryan said: “This is a crisis. … What protection is ObamaCare if there is no health care plan to purchase in your state?”
The bill, which was often contentious and failed in a vote once before, has met tremendous resistance from Democrats. The most recent version of the new health care bill adds $8 billion for five years to help those with pre-existing and long-term health conditions, but critics say it's not enough:
Democrats have slammed Republicans for pushing for a vote without an assessment of its costs from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The party has warned about a previous CBO estimate that showed an earlier version of the plan leading to 24 million more uninsured people over a decade and rising premium costs for older Americans.
The bill now will go to the Senate, where its fate is as yet unknown.