On Thursday, May 4, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 217-213 to pass its long-awaited and heavily-debated bill, the American Health Care Act. After six weeks of revision following the lack of support for an earlier version of the bill, the Republican party managed to swing enough moderates in their favor. The bill, a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), will reform significant portions of the ACA and maintain others. Possibly the most controversial reform comes with Medicaid, which provides healthcare to millions of low-income, disabled and other resource-deprived Americans.
Also in the controversy headlights is the speed at which the bill was voted upon. Typically, bills await an analysis report from the Congressional Budget Office, which offers likely ramifications of the bill’s passing.
The report from the CBO on the earlier version of the AHCA concluded that the bill would trim the federal deficit by a considerable amount, but in the process leave 24 million Americans without health insurance in a decade’s time.
The Republicans’ decision to vote prior to a CBO report received heavy criticism from the Democratic party, who argued it was wrong to vote on something for the American people without knowing how it will affect them. Democratic representative and House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, said Republicans will have this vote “tattooed on them.” As the final votes were tallied and the passing recognized, the Democrats in the House began singing “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye.” The bill heads to the Senate now, where it is widely believed to be voted against, albeit by a slim margin. There is no doubt that should the bill pass to the president, it will be signed into law immediately.