The House of Representatives on Thursday finally delivered on their promise to do their part in repealing and replacing Obamacare, passing the American Health Care Act, otherwise known as Trumpcare. Critics of the bill raised concerns about the speed with which the bill was pushed through to a vote considering there wasn't even a hearing, debate, or CBO score established beforehand. Yet that didn't stop it from passing 217 to 213. On Thursday morning, an MSNBC reporter asked Republican congressmen if they had read the AHCA bill in full before the vote, and their responses are pretty telling.
Most of the Republicans passing the cameras quickly walked away from the reporter and his question. While the response of walking away does not at all count as an admission that they had not read the bill, it's certainly a funny compilation to watch unfold.
The newest version of the AHCA is somewhat of a compromise between conservative and moderate House Republicans. The initial bill that didn't actually make it to a vote in March did not have the support of the House Freedom Caucus. However, the adjustments made to the text in its second run resulted in Republicans passing the AHCA in a narrow victory.
The big change between the drafts of the bill involve the ability of Americans with preexisting conditions to get affordable coverage. In the revised bill, the MacArthur Amendment allows states to apply for a wavier that would allow them to change what health insurance plans in the state deem basic coverage. For states that take advantage of this wavier and use it to cut benefits from plans, it's more likely that costs of insurances that cover preexisting conditions will skyrocket.
The bill would also defund Planned Parenthood by prohibiting Medicaid funds from being used by patients at the abortion and reproductive health care provider. About 40 percent of Planned Parenthood's budget comes from federal government grants and reimbursements, 60 percent of which comes from Medicaid and Title X. If the federal money were to be cut off, Planned Parenthood would likely suffer.
Now, the bill will be sent to the Senate for a vote, where it might not be an easy win for Republicans. How moderate Senators will vote given that the bill has been revised with more conservative policies remains to be seen. Hopefully before then, there will be a chance for all members of Congress to read the bill in full and talk with constituents about what is really best for the country.