US: Republican healthcare bill passed, Obamacare 'dead'

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US: Republican healthcare bill passed, Obamacare 'dead'
US: Republican healthcare bill passed, Obamacare 'dead'

Washington : US President Donald Trump has declared Obamacare "essentially dead" after the Republican healthcare bill was narrowly passed by the House of Representatives.

The 217-213 vote on Thursday marked Trump's first legislative victory as he failed to get any major legislation passed by Congress during his first 100 days in the White House. 

Democrats said the American Health Care Act will leave millions uninsured, ABC News reported.

Following the House vote, House Republicans celebrated with a press conference at the White House Rose Garden with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. 

Trump touted the bill as a "great plan" even though they got "no support from the other party".

The President congratulated and thanked House Speaker Paul Ryan and praised House Republicans for coming together.

"This is a great plan. I actually think it will get even better. This is a repeal and replace of Obamacare. Make no mistake about it," Trump said at the White House.

"What we have is something very, very incredibly well-crafted," Trump said of the bill.

Even though the bill has passed the House, there are major roadblocks ahead in the Senate, where the bill is expected to undergo significant changes.

However, Trump said he feels "confident" the bill will pass through the Senate and said it "will get even better."

"It's going to be an unbelievable victory when we get it through the Senate and there's so much spirit there," Trump said.

Democrats warned that the changes will leave Americans worse off. It will strip insurance from the poor, giving tax breaks to the wealthy and casting doubt on health provisions for the chronically sick.

"Thousands of Americans would die because they would no longer have access to care," said Senator Bernie Sanders.

"Make no mistake, many people will die as a result of this bill," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

As originally introduced, the GOP bill would leave 24 million fewer people insured by 2026 than under Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act.

The House bill would eliminate tax penalties for people who go without health insurance. It would roll back state-by-state expansions of Medicaid, which covered millions of low-income Americans, CNN reported. 

The bill also restructures Medicaid payments to the states, reducing federal spending.

After 2020, states that expanded Medicaid would no longer receive enhanced federal funding to cover low-income adults, and those that hadn't expanded would be immediately barred from doing so.