Congressional Republicans cleared their first procedural hurdle in repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Friday, passing a measure green-lighting plans to abolish President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation.
The legislation, which cleared the Senate following a marathon voting session early Thursday morning, passed the House largely along party lines in a 227-198 vote. While a number of Republicans expressed concerns over the lack of details on their replacement package plans earlier in the week, just nine members of the party voted against the measure.
“This was better than we expected — I think at the end of the day, the vast majority of our membership recognizes that the first thing we need to do in this new Congress is start the process of repealing Obamacare so that we can replace it with reforms that actually lower costs and put patients back in charge of their medical decision,” Majority Whip Steve Scalise told reporters after the vote.
Top Republicans praised its passage, saying they are looking forward to working on constructing the legislation.
“This ultimately, if there was one promise Republicans have run on for the past six years, it’s that we are going to do our best to kill Obamacare — and I think that affirms that promise,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker told reporters. “This is a new day because we are working with a potential HHS secretary that, for lack of better expression, is on our side to work through some of the issues and concerns we have with repeal and replace.
Republicans are slated to discuss the logistics of its replacement at the GOP policy conference on Jan. 26-27.
The respective committees will now be tasked with putting the meat on the bones of legislation, which is expected to be voted on some time before the end of March.
President-elect Donald Trump has called on Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare concurrently, which has some concerned about the timeline, according to Walker.
“I don’t know what the president means completely by his aspect of repeal, if it’s the framework then yes, to be able to work with some of the states and some of the regulations and things they have, to meet all those timelines, it will be tough to do,” Walker said.
Republicans are completely “in sync” with Trump’s plans on healthcare, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters at his weekly press conference Thursday.
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