Affordable Care Act headed for budget reconciliation at the hands of GOP Senate.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a repeal of Affordable Care Act on Friday afternoon, tucked into a budget bill that will eventually repeal the health care law better known as Obamacare.
Despite doubters who claimed the House Republicans might not pass a repeal of Obamacare while not knowing what it could be replaced with, the House voted for the measure by a vote of 227-198.
“I don’t think you want to be a Republican and go home and say I voted against the first step in repealing Obamacare.”
The U.S. Senate has already voted, on Thursday, to repeal the law in its budget measure.
Obamacare will now be gutted the same way it was passed in 2010, by budget reconciliation.
Reconciliations cannot be filibustered by senators, depriving the Senate of their nuclear option to halt legislation. Both congressional chambers can now pass the budget and the contained repeal with simple majorities.
The somewhat surprising repeal came after weeks of speculation that the GOP was wary of kickstarting the process without a consensus replacement option in place. The issues the GOP were entangled in — despite opposing Obamacare consistently for seven years — was a possible replacement; keeping the popular parts of the law, such as covering people with pre-exisiting conditions; and paying for any new health care reforms.
But Republicans urged their peers to repeal the law and deliver on their oft-made promise.
“I don’t think you want to be a Republican and go home and say I voted against the first step in repealing Obamacare,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican.
Paving the way for repeal was that in recent months, the Affordable Care Act was increasingly showing signs it was in fact unaffordable.
U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Indiana) noted the Obamacare increases in Kentucky alone.
Four Kentucky health plans left the Obamacare exchange at the end of 2016, Rokita told the House.
Rokita said of the three remaining plans, each hiked their premiums by double digits: 22.9 percent, 29.3 percent, and 33.7 percent.
Rokita said people are losing their jobs because of Obamacare, which was another claim Republicans often made. Rokita said 21 percent of U.S. businesses reduced their number of employees and their wages.