Eight weeks after its introduction, legislation to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA) won House approval today by a 217-213 vote. Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday said a vote in Congress to repeal the ACA was “just around the corner,” even as key House moderates continued to balk at changes they fear could undermine coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. In the end, the GOP leadership successfully kept up the pressure for a vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) before the House went on recess this week.
Now that the AHCA has passed the House, the Senate faces a similar ideological divide between conservatives and moderates – but with a narrower governing majority than the House. With only two votes to spare, Senate leaders could try to change the bill to cobble together at least 50 votes, sending the legislation back to the House. But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who spoke at BakerHostetler’s 28th Annual Legislative Seminar last week, said he believes Senate Republicans could approve the House-passed bill without any changes.