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Congress Votes Along Party Lines to Repeal Affordable Care Act

Friday, January 13, 2017  
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House Votes to Begin Obamacare Repeal Process
Source: Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, January 13, 2017

Congress took its first step toward rolling back President Obama’s health care reform law Friday, with the House voting along party lines to pass key preliminary legislation.

The measure, which was passed Thursday by the Senate, will allow Republicans to use special budget procedures to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act without cooperation from Democrats.

House Republicans from divergent wings of the party had raised concerns this week about taking the initial step without having a more detailed plan in place for ultimately replacing Obamacare with a GOP alternative.

But House leaders worked in recent days to address those concerns, even as President-elect Donald Trump made public statements setting out an ambitious timeline for action that many on Capitol Hill see as unrealistic. The final vote was 227 to 198.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a Friday floor speech that the measure set to be passed Friday would launch a “thoughtful, step-by-step process” toward replacing Obamacare.

“This is a critical first step toward delivering relief to Americans who are struggling under this law,” he said. “In the weeks ahead, several steps will be taken to provide relief — some steps will be taken by this body; some steps will be taken . . . by the new administration.

“Our goal is a truly patient-centered system, which means more options to choose from, lower costs and greater control over your coverage,” he continued. “And as we work to get there, we will make sure that there is a stable transition period so that people don’t have the rug pulled out from under them.”

Ryan said during a nationally televised town hall meeting Friday that Congress would act “definitely within these first 100 days” on a replacement plan.

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