House GOP votes to gut Obama health care law, measure now heads - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

House GOP votes to gut Obama health care law, measure now heads to Senate

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WASHINGTON -

2:19 p.m.
    
Relieved Republicans have pushed their prized health care bill through the House. The mostly party-line 217-213 vote advances a bill that addresses their longtime pledge to erase the 2010 Obama health care law.
    
Thursday's vote sends the measure to the Senate. Many senators consider the House bill too harsh and it's expected to undergo substantial changes.
    
The House measure collapsed in March due to opposition by conservative and moderate GOP lawmakers. House leaders abandoned another attempt to pass the bill last week after support was lacking.
    
Leaders finally rounded up enough support after adding money aimed at helping seriously ill patients afford their medical costs.
    
Democrats said the bill would kick millions off coverage. They predicted Republicans would pay the price in next year's elections.
    
___
    
2:15 p.m.
    
The Senate has delivered to President Donald Trump the first significant legislation of his presidency, a bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the government running through September.
    
The 79-18 vote sends the huge bill to the White House well in time to avert a midnight Friday deadline.
    
Negotiators on the bill dropped Trump's demands for a down payment on his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but his signature would buy five months of stability while lawmakers battle again over the wall and Trump's demands for a huge military buildup, along with cuts to popular domestic programs and foreign aid accounts.
    
The House passed the measure Wednesday on a big bipartisan vote, though 103 conservative Republicans opposed it.
    
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2 p.m.
    
President Donald Trump is slamming Democrats who oppose a Republican health care bill.
    
Trump tweeted Thursday that he is watching Democrats. He says they are "trying to defend the 'you can keep you (sic) doctor, you can keep your plan & premiums will go down' ObamaCare lie."
    
Trump praises the House GOP bill to repeal and replace the Obama health care law. He tweets that it "will lower premiums & deductibles - and be great healthcare!"
    
Trump tweeted as the House nears what is expected to be a razor-thin vote Thursday. Republican leaders insist they have enough votes to pass it.
    
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12:10 p.m.
    
President Donald Trump says he's hopeful that "we're going to have a wonderful day and a wonderful vote" in the House on health care.
    
Trump says in a Rose Garden ceremony with faith leaders that "we're going to take care of a lot of people" with their health care needs. He says ahead of the House vote, "we've all fought very hard to be able to do that."
    
The Republican health care bill is facing a vote later Thursday in the House, where leaders insist they have enough votes to pass it.
    
The bill represents the GOP's attempt to fulfill a pledge to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law, a key campaign promise for Trump.
    
___
    
11:40 p.m.
    
The Senate is on track to deliver President Donald Trump the first significant legislation of his presidency. It's a bipartisan, $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the government running pretty much as-is through September.
    
Senate passage Thursday afternoon would send the bill to the White House in time to avert a midnight Friday shutdown deadline. The House passed the measure Wednesday on a big bipartisan vote, though 103 conservative Republicans opposed the bill.
    
Trump won $15 billion in additional Pentagon spending but was denied funding to begin construction work on his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He took to Twitter earlier this week to complain about the bipartisan process that produced the measure but changed course to praise additional spending for the military and border security.
    
___
    
11:03 a.m.
    
The Republican health care bill has cleared an early House hurdle, and party leaders are pushing the measure toward a climactic final vote they say they will win.
    
The measure moved forward by 235-192, setting up a roll call on final passage that was expected to be close. A late amendment adding money to help people with serious diseases pay medical costs seemed to win enough support that leaders decided it was time to vote.
    
Should the measure pass, it's expected to face major changes in the Senate.
    
The legislation represents the GOP's attempt to fulfill their pledge to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. It would ease that statute's insurance coverage requirements, cut Medicaid and erase taxes the law imposes on higher-earning people and health industry companies.
    
_____
    
3:30 a.m.
    
Republicans say they're set to push their prized health care bill through the House, after the measure endured several near-death experiences this year.
    
Leaders say they plan to do it Thursday and have the votes to prevail. That would claim a victory for President Donald Trump, six weeks after nearly leaving it for dead and days after support from GOP moderates seemed to crumble anew.
    
House leaders have revamped the bill to attract most conservatives and some GOP moderates since an earlier version collapsed in March. In a final tweak, leaders added a modest pool of money they say would help people with pre-existing medical conditions afford coverage.
    
At the same time, Congress is ready to give final approval to a bipartisan $1 trillion measure financing federal agencies through September.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 

House Republicans are on the verge of passing a revamped health care bill that would see much of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) repealed and replaced with a new system. 

Back in March, House GOP leaders pulled their Health Care Act without a vote after widespread opposition. The revamped bill contains a series of major concessions to the conservative House Freedom Caucus and much smaller concessions to wavering moderates, according to NBC News. 

The biggest change since the last vote is about pre-existing conditions. An amendment to the bill says states could eek a waiver from Obamacare's current requirement that insurers charge people the same for coverage regardless of whether they have a pre-existing condition. If states opt out, insurers can charge sick people far more for plans if their coverage has lapsed and coverage might not include treatments for their condition. 

Members are voting on the bill without any analysis of how much it would cost or who it would cover. 

"In a highly unusual move for a bill that would reorganize one-sixth of the country's economy, the House is moving forward without waiting for a score from the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan federal agency responsible for modeling the impact of legislation," NBC News reported. 

Congress has used the Congressional Budget Office as the gold standard in analyzing policy changes. 

"Without that analysis, lawmakers are choosing to essentially fly blind," according to Benjy Sarlin of NBC News. 

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