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House Republicans
Vote to Repeal Obamacare

Republicans pushed their Obamacare repeal bill uphill through the House, taking their biggest step yet toward dismantling the Obamacare since President Trump took office. Their hard-won passage came only they overcame their own divisions.

Angry Democrats are certain that Republicans will pay at election time in 2018. They sang the pop song "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" to the GOP lawmakers as voting came to an end. Republicans seemed unfazed. Many of them went to the White House for a victory appearance with the president.

"Many of us are here because we pledged to cast this very vote," Paul Ryan said. He asked, "Are we going to keep the promises that we made, or are we going to falter?"

The repeal made it through the House by a thin 217-213 vote. All voting Democrats and 20 moderate Republican holdouts cast "No" votes.

Passage came after heavy lobbying by the White House and Republican leaders, along with late revisions that nailed down the final necessary support. Leaders rallied rank-and-file lawmakers at a closed-door meeting prior to the final vote by playing "Eye of the Tiger," from "Rocky III".

"Many of us are here because we pledged to cast this very vote," Ryan said. He asked, "Are we going to keep the promises that we made, or are we going to falter?"

The bill faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where GOP lawmakers say big changes are coming. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the House vote was "an important step" to repealing Obama's law, adding, "Congress will continue to act on legislation to provide more choices and freedom in health care decisions."

Republicans have promised to repeal Obamacare since its passage in 2010, but this year — with Trump in the White House and Republicans in full control of Congress — is their first real chance to deliver.

Ryan had to cancel a March vote on repeal because recalcitrant members of the Freedom Caucus said the measure was too weak. GOP moderates said the cuts were too deep.

The bill faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where GOP lawmakers say big changes are coming.

Over the past few weeks, the American Health Care Act was revised to win the support of conservatives and some GOP centrists. In a final tweak, leaders added a modest pool of money to help people with pre-existing medical conditions afford coverage.

The bill eliminates tax penalties imposed by Obamacare on people who don't buy coverage and stops tax increases in the Affordable Care Act on higher-earning people and the health industry. It shifts Medicaid for low-income people to the states and transforms Obama's subsidies for millions buying insurance — based mostly on people's incomes and premiums — into tax credits that increase with consumers' ages.

It keeps Obama's requirement that family health insurance covers grown children until age 26.

The bill would block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year.

GOP leaders won over wavering lawmakers after adding $8 billion over five years for state high-risk pools, which are intended to help seriously ill people pay expensive premiums. That was on top of $130 billion already in the bill for states to help customers.