GOP health care bill passes House but there’s more to the story

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Photo by Sean Stayte via flickr.

While the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to finally “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, the story is far from over. (By the way, this bill actually doesn’t repeal anything.)

The measure got through the House with a 217-213 vote, as all voting Democrats and 20 mostly moderate Republican holdouts voted no.

The bill goes to the Senate, where legislators are already saying changes will be necessary – changes will mean that both houses will need to resolve differences before the bill heads to President Trump’s desk. The bill also will be “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office.  Congress usually gets a budget estimate before it takes a vote. The House skipped that, but the Senate says it will not.

The budget score is particularly crucial on this bill in the Senate because it has to meet the requirements of the “reconciliation process.”

The New York Times provides some explanation of reconciliation rules:

One possible roadblock is the Senate parliamentarian. Republicans have pursued a procedural tool known as reconciliation in the hopes of passing the bill with a simple majority, rather than having to clear a 60-vote threshold with Democratic assistance. Reconciliation rules allow for changes on matters of taxes and spending but not broader policy changes. Some elements of the House bill had already threatened to draw the parliamentarian’s attention, and Democrats have strategized about specific components to target on these grounds.

And Sarah Ferris provides some important information in this AHCJ tip sheet, “How Congressional Republicans plan to gut the ACA.”

Here are some smart pieces to help us see what’s coming and some potential stories to follow:

(Note: I will add to this list as I come across relevant coverage.)

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