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‘We Have Enough Votes:’ House Republicans Make Gains In Renewed Push to Repeal Obamacare

The GOP’s health care plan has been revised to include funds to help low-income Americans with pre-existing conditions afford medical coverage. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Republican health care bill successfully cleared its first hurdle in the House on Thursday, May 4, putting lawmakers one step closer to their goal of repealing Obamacare.

The bill passed by a slim 235-192 vote, ABC News reported, after the House made several changes to insurance coverage mandates in the GOP’s prized legislation. The victory comes just six weeks after Republicans abandoned the bill after failing to garner enough votes.

After gaining House approval, the measure will now head to the Senate, where it still faces an uncertain future. Many Republicans there remain wary of the bill, describing its proposed policies as ones that’ll do more harm than good for the American people. A lack of over two dozen votes was enough to sink the bill in March, but GOP leaders were confident it would pass the second time around.

“We have enough votes,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) said of the American Health Care Act Wednesday. “It’ll pass.”

In an effort to woo hard-line conservatives and few moderates who were still on the fence, lawmakers moved to add a modest amount of money — $8 billion to be exact —  to help those with pre-existing conditions afford health coverage, according to ABC News. Yet still, experts worry if that’ll be enough to cover the millions of Americans who need insurance.

Caroline Pearson, senior vice president of health care consulting firm Avalere, argued that even with the additional $8 billion tacked on, the GOP’s proposed plan would only allow a certain number of small states to opt into coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions. If large states like Texas and Florida also received a waiver for coverage, “… many chronically ill individuals could be left without access to insurance,” she told USA TODAY.

Recent polls have shown that former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law, which provided more than 20 million Americans with health coverage, has actually become more popular as Republicans debate on how to repeal and replace it. Critics of the proposed Trumpcare plan contend that it would strip those same Americans of their health coverage and send medical premiums through the roof.

“How can you do this to the American people? How can you do this to the people you represent?” asked Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) went so far as to call Trumpcare a “moral monstrosity.”

“House Republicans are going to tattoo this moral monstrosity to their foreheads, and the American people will hold them accountable,” she said.

If passed, the AHCA would cut the Medicaid program for low-income Americans and allow states to impose work requirements on program recipients. The plan would also take the subsidies provided for those buying insurance under Obamacare and transform them into tax credits that rise as consumers age. It would, however, keep one popular aspect of Obamacare, which allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.

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