The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Obamacare replacement bill known as American Health Care Act last week. On a vote of 217-213 the bill passed to the U.S. Senate where it faces major changes. The original bill did not come up for a vote because conservatives and centrist Republicans were against some provisions in it. The bill that passed the House included amendments that satisfied both groups.
The House bill does not completely repeal Obamacare, but it does repeal the individual and employer mandates. It replaces the tax credits of Obamacare with “age-based, refundable tax credits.”
The House bill faces some major opposition in the Senate. Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate with 51 votes needed to pass the bill. The 51 votes are questionable on the House bill with several Senators voicing problems with it. There are the usual Senators – such as Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) – who are joined by several other Senators.
Some conservative members in the House hope for Senate improvement of the bill and repeal of more of Obamacare. Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told The Daily Signal, “Let’s be honest, when we sent an Obamacare repeal legislation to the Senate, it got better because we had folks like Mike Lee and Sen. [Ted] Cruz and Sen. [Marco] Rubio and Sen. [Rand] Paul and all these conservative senators who pushed the so-called reconciliation rules, who pushed the envelope and made it a slightly better piece of legislation … So we’re hoping that’ll happen again.”
The U.S. Senate is working on its own version of a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. This bill will most likely have numerous differences from the House bill. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) seem to be determined to deliver on the promise to make healthcare more affordable. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) says that the new House bill is an improvement but still needs work in order for him to vote for it. I feel more comfortable with Tea Party-supported Senator actively working on producing a healthcare reform bill that actually helps Americans.