The bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, passed by a narrow margin in the House of Representatives: a 217-213 vote. Nineteen Republicans voted against the measure, joining the unanimous vote by the Democrats. Once the measures was passed, Republicans could be seen applauding. Democrats, on the other hand, were heard to sing a old popular song with the refrain “Na na nana, na na nana, na na nana, hey hey, goodbye.”
 
According to the Washington Post, “Make no mistake - many people will die as a result of this bill,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, said. She is a former chair of the Democratic Party
 
Republicans had been promising to repeal and replace Obamacare throughout Barack Obama’s administration. “Our constituents did not elect us to do what is easy. They elected us to do what is right,” Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, the chair of the House Budget Committee, said on the floor.
 
In the morning before the vote, Republicans gathered to hear the “Rocky” theme song. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, showed a photo of  Gen. George Patton to Republicans that displayed an inspirational quote: “Accept the challenge so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory." Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri, came smiling out of the morning meeting and told ABC News that “the line of the day was out of ‘Braveheart,’ ‘Freedom!’” "We have the votes," McCarthy told reporters after the meeting.
 
Among the critics of the bill was Planned Parenthood federation president Cecile Richards denounced the defunding of her organization.
Planned Parenthood has received annual subsidies during the Obama administration of approximately $500 million.
 
Before several amendments were added, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that 24 million additional Americans would be uninsured by 2026 but that the bill would reduce the deficit by $337 billion, as compared to the Affordable Care Act. The bill restructures Medicaid payments to the states, reducing federal spending.
 
A compromise amendment gives states the ability to opt out of certain Obamacare provisions, such as requirements for covering mental health, prescription drugs, and maternity care, among others.
 
The amendment would also allow states to opt out of another mandate that prevents insurers from charging consumers with pre-existing conditions more for coverage.



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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