Moderate Republicans call House vote start, not end of health debate

A jubilant Donald Trump hailed the Republican healthcare bill which passed the House of Representatives on Thursday as a "great plan" which will give Americans reduced premiums and expanded coverage.

The final vote for the health care bill was 217-213, a slim win for the Republican leaders, who faced huge challenges in getting the bill for consideration in the House floor.

The bill would also repeal the Obamacare financial penalty for the 2016 tax year for not purchasing insurance, as well as a surtax on investment income earned by upper-income Americans.

It has already been a big enough struggle for Republicans in the House of Representatives to get it this far - and for one very simple reason.

Linda Schwimmer, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, a nonprofit group, said the proposed changes could force states "to return to the bare-bones plans that were sold pre-ACA that didn't keep people healthy".

"What this amendment would do is provide additional funds directly into high-risk pools to be spent for people that might otherwise lose their coverage", Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said. You know why we're going to see this work through?

Within an hour of the vote, Trump celebrated with House lawmakers in the White House Rose Garden.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill that failed to pass in March would have stripped coverage from 24 million people. Action is needed, however, to improve the current health care insurance system. That means, according to Senate rules, the upper house would be prevented from passing provisions that are unrelated to spending or revenue - for example, an exemption for congresspeople from restrictions on preexisting conditions.

The largest doctors group in America on Thursday blasted House Republicans for their passage of a bill that the medical professionals believe would be detrimental to the health of their patients.

Others, like Sarah Hyland, got more personal in their reactions to the Obamacare replacement.

No new estimate was published prior to Thursday's vote, although one is expected before the Senate considers the bill.

But Republicans say this latest version can succeed.

"We're going to finish it off and we're going to go on to a lot of other things".

It would let insurers mark up premiums by 30 percent for those who have a lapse in insurance coverage of about two months or more. "As much as we've come up with a really incredible health care plan, this has brought the Republican Party together". To his Republican colleagues, he said, "You are taking away essential health care protections". Recent changes did not address fundamental concerns about the bill's impact on the 650,000 individuals that are part of our Medicaid expansion population, nor have those changes eased the concerns of the 350,000 people in the individual market who are dealing with skyrocketing premiums and fewer choices. Those cuts, which add up to about $592 billion, include a tax on incomes over $200,000 (or $250,000 for a married couple); a tax on health insurers and a limit on how much insurance companies can deduct for executive pay; and a tax on medical-device manufacturers.