Vote on Obamacare Replacement Stalls in House, Trump Responds With Ultimatum

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Mar 24, 2017

The expected vote on the American Health Care Act, the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act, did not happen on Thursday amid a shortage of votes, and in response President Trump has said the bill must pass today or else he will simply move on to other legislative priorities, according to the Washington Post. While the bill cut back many of the Obama-era measures enacted in the ACA, House Republicans clashed over whether the AHCA went too far, didn't go far enough, or was fine as is.

Eleventh hour negotiations have produced a revised bill that eliminates the 10 "essential health benefits" such as pregnancy care, mental health treatment, and doctor's office visits, leaving minimum coverage up to the states; increased aid to states for maternity and newborn care; keeps the 0.9 percent Medicare tax on those earning $200,000 or more until 2023, a six year delay; ends the Medicaid expansion in 2019; gives states the option of requiring Medicaid recipients to have a job or actively seek one; gives an additional $85 billion in aid to senior citizen healthcare; increases the yearly inflation adjustment for the fixed per-capita funding that would replace the fixed percentage cost currently used; gives states the option of receiving Medicaid funding as a block grant; accelerate the repeal of several taxes from 2018 to 2017; shifts Medicaid funding in the state of New York from the counties to the states, excepting New York City; and increases Medicaid funding for the state of Illinois. 

The House plans to vote on the bill this afternoon, regardless of whether or not there are enough votes to carry it, according to the Post. 

UPDATE: The New York Times says that House Speaker Paul Ryan has gone to the White House to explain to the president that they do not have the votes to pass the bill, with both conservative hardliners and moderates declining to support it, though for different reasons. For instance, Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R - New Jersey), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said the bill would place too many new costs and barriers to coverage. Others like Rep. Mo Brooks (R - Alabama), called it the largest Republican welfare program in history and refused to support it. All this had added to to insufficient support for the bill: Ryan said 30 to 40 Republicans planned to vote “no”; House leaders can afford to lose only 22 votes and still pass the bill.

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