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28 Apr 2017

US healthcare reform: Republicans lawmakers seek votes for Obamacare replacement

Prospects for the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to pass an amended healthcare reform bill before President Trump's 100th day in office faded as Republican lawmakers struggled to gather sufficient votes.

In March an attempt by Republicans to pass a different healthcare bill had failed.

Healthcare reforms are crucial for Trump who had campaigned fervently on the promise that he would repeal his predecessor's Obamacare.

In context

Republicans seek support for Obamacare replacement bill


What the failed original Republican healthcare bill contained

The original healthcare bill which Republicans tried passing in March would replace the income-based tax credit in Obamacare with an age-based credit.

It would also end the Medicaid government health insurance program's expansion for the poor and repeal a large number of Obamacare taxes.

An estimated 24 million fewer people would have insurance under this bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Amended bill

How the amended bill differs from previous bill

The new amended bill will allow states to get waivers to opt out of certain provisions under the law.

This includes a provision which mandates that insurance companies charge individuals with pre-existing conditions the same as healthy consumers.

It also mandates that insurers cover so-called essential health benefits, including maternity care.

This amendment has won over some Republican lawmakers.

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Republicans optimistic

Republicans are cautiously optimistic about getting bill passed

However, the amended bill's advocates remain cautiously optimistic after the Freedom Caucus, a group of hard-line Republicans endorsed it.

"We're going to go (to the floor) when we have the votes," House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday. "We're making very good progress."

However, it remains uncertain whether Republicans can gather the mandatory 216 votes to pass the bill in the House.

Questions remain

Amended bill criticized, Democrats call it "wildly unpopular"

Critics believe the bill would cost millions their health care coverage.

Some centrists say the amendments don't address concerns of how poor Americans in the Medicaid program could be hurt.

Concerns over reduced protections for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions remain a problem.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump was forcing Republicans to "walk the plank" by supporting a "wildly unpopular" healthcare bill.

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