An amended version of Republicans' American Health Care Act passed the House of Representatives in a narrow 217-213 vote Thursday, giving the Senate the green light to take up a vote on the bill. But while the AHCA only barely managed to squeak through the House and has already been criticized by a handful of Republican senators, President Donald Trump said Thursday he was "so confident" the bill would pass the Senate. With all eyes on the Senate, many are wondering exactly when will the Senate vote on the AHCA and how likely is the bill to pass?
While House Republicans managed to push the AHCA through the House on Thursday, the bill is expected to face even more resistance in the Senate. Should every Democratic senator vote against the legislation, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes from within their own party. Although the Senate currently has no official date for a vote on the AHCA, it is expected to take at least a few weeks for one to be scheduled.
Further complicating matters, however, is that fact that many Senate Republicans have said they would prefer to draft their own bill rather than attempt to push for a vote on the AHCA the House just passed.
"The safest thing to say is there will be a Senate bill, but it will look at what the House has done and see how much of that we can incorporate in a product that works for us in reconciliation," Sen. Roy Blunt said Thursday, according to the Washington Examiner.
Should the Senate pass different legislation, the House would have to vote again to approve that.
Moreover, senior Senate Republicans have cautioned against expecting a quick vote. "We are not under any deadlines, so we are going to take our time," Republican Sen. John Cornyn said, as Bloomberg reported. "When we have 51 senators we will vote, but not until then."
The amended bill is the second attempt House Republicans have made to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act this year. An earlier version of the bill, however, failed to garner enough support causing senior GOP leaders to pull it from consideration before it came up for a vote.
Along with repealing key proponents of the Obamacare, the revised AHCA also enables states to remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Under the AHCA, states could opt to waive rules banning health insurance providers from using pre-existing conditions to determine premiums, meaning companies could charge as much as they wanted to people with pre-existing conditions.
The bill also redefines pre-existing conditions to include domestic violence, sexual assault, postpartum depression, and cesarean sections, a move many have criticized as being discriminatory toward women.
While House Republicans narrowly managed to pass the AHCA through the House, their legislation faces an even bumpier ride on its way to a Senate vote — if it even makes it to one at all.