WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - In a victory for the GOP, the U.S. House of Representatives garnered enough votes today to repeal Obamacare. The new law, called the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), would also defund Planned Parenthood for the period of one year.
The Republican-majority House voted Thursday to pass the bill, which is supposed to fulfill President Donald Trump's campaign promise to "repeal and replace" President Obama's disastrous Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
The U.S. House, however, is just the first stop for the legislation. From here it will pass to the U.S. Senate, where it will be debated and amended — possibly in substantial ways — before it goes to a vote. If the Senate passes it, the AHCA will go to President Donald Trump's desk for signature.
The bill — championed by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan — initially failed in March when it was determined there were not enough Republicans to pass it by a simple majority. It was considered dead until April 2, when it was resurrected.
But now, with the inclusion of an additional amendment adding $8 billion to cover people with pre-existing conditions, the bill cleared hurdles Republicans were unable to overcome earlier.
The earlier version also took Medicare funding from Planned Parenthood (PP) — the largest abortion provider in the United States — but the newest version only defunds the abortion giant for a period of one year. It takes away over 86 percent of taxpayer money from PP and redirects it to community health centers that offer women's health services and do not provide abortions.
It is possible, however, that by the time the Senate is done with the bill, it could undergo significant changes, even possibly removing the pro-life portions.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), commented:
We applaud the conservative members of Congress that have been working to ensure the replace portion of the repeal bill is both pro-life and pro-family. The measure not only reapplies to federal health care law the principle contained in the Hyde Amendment that abortion is not health care and should not be subsidized, but it also contains significant steps to reduce healthcare premiums.
He notes, however, that if the pro-life measure is struck from the Senate's version of the bill, the organization will not support it.
One of President Trump's campaign promises was to defund PP, and even Democrat Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, admitted Trump was elected because of pro-lifers.
Pelosi and other Democrats castigated Republicans, calling the AHCA "Trumpcare." She chastised them for passing the law without knowing how much it will actually cost American taxpayers. Republicans, however, are reminding Pelosi that in 2010 she advocated for the passing of Obamacare countering with, "We have to pass the bill so you can see what's in it."
Before the vote, Ryan spoke to House members, saying, "A lot of us have waited seven years to cast this vote. Many of us are here because we pledged to cast this vote: to repeal and replace Obamacare." He added, "This bill delivers the promises we have made to the American people."
Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire, warns:
Perhaps it was worthwhile passing this bill but only as a stopgap measure requiring an enormous amount of further work. To champion it as the long-awaited death of government-run healthcare is a lie, and an idiotic, easily-disprovable lie at that. Unfortunately, that lie will allow Democrats to claim that the free market is failing when it's still never been tried — all so that Republicans can pretend to their base that they cured a cancer that's still gnawing at the bowels of the American health care system.
After the vote, Republicans took a victory lap by traveling to the White House to meet with President Trump for a press conference.