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Trump says House vote means Obamacare is "dead"

AHCA narrowly passed in Congress and will now be considered by the Senate

Healthcare_protest

President Trump has taken a leap forward towards meeting his pledge to unravel Obamacare after a Republican healthcare bill was narrowly passed in Congress.

The House of Representatives voted by 217 to 213 to pass the American Health Care Act, which marks the first legislative victory for the Trump administration and starts the ball rolling on dismantling the signature policy of former president Barack Obama.

In a statement Trump said that the passage was effectively a repeal of Obamacare - the Affordable Care Act - which he repeatedly attacked during the election campaign as a disaster. Although it extended medical insurance to 25 million more people by expanding Medicaid critics have claimed premiums are high and it has resulted in fewer choices of plan.

"It was a GREAT day for the United States of America! This is a great plan that is a repeal & replace of ObamaCare. Make no mistake about it," he tweeted. Premiums and deductibles will come down he asserted.

The AHCA has undergone numerous revisions since it was first tabled several weeks ago and promptly hamstrung by a Congressional Budget Office report that suggested it would leave 24 million more Americans uninsured within a decade. In the interim changes to the text have garnered much-needed support from moderate Republicans - but it still has to pass a Senate vote.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the passage of the AHCA is "the first step toward a patient-centred healthcare system that will provide Americans access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage", adding that it would allow people "to choose the coverage that best meets their needs, not what Washington forces them to buy".

Democrats insist the move will leave millions of people uninsured particularly those on low incomes and those with chronic health conditions. A report published by Avalere Health suggests that given the level of funding proposed in the bill only 5% of people with pre-existing medical conditions will be covered under the AHCA - just 110,000 out of 2.2m enrolees.

There were demonstrations outside Capitol Hill during and after the vote and leading Democrats pulled no punches in slamming the new bill.

"The bill that Republicans passed today is an absolute disaster," said Sen. Bernie Sanders in the aftermath of the vote. "It really has nothing to do with health care. It has everything to do with an enormous shift of wealth from working people to the richest Americans."

He said the AHCA would throw 24 million Americans off of health insurance, cut Medicaid by $840bn, defund Planned Parenthood and substantially increase premiums on older Americans, while also providing "a $300bn tax break to the top 2% and hundreds of billions more to the big drug and insurance companies that are ripping off the American people".

Article by
Phil Taylor

5th May 2017

From: Regulatory, Healthcare

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