(CNSNews.com) - Vice President Mike Pence welcomed House Republicans to the White House on Thursday following the passage of the American Health Care Act, saying, “Thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump, welcome to the beginning of the end of Obamacare.”
With a vote of 217-213, the House on Thursday passed the American Health Care Act - the Obamacare repeal and replacement plan - along party lines with 20 Republicans voting against it.
“It was March 2010 - seven years ago. Democrats passed a government takeover of health care, and at that time, Republicans in Congress promised the American people that law would not stand,” Pence said.
“Today, thanks to the perseverance, the determination, and the leadership of President Donald Trump and all the support of those gathered here, we’ve taken a historic first step to repeal and replace Obamacare and finally give the American people the kind of health care they deserve,” he said.
“Today was a big day, but it is just one step in this process - an important step. We still have a lot of work to do to get this signed into law, and I know that our friends in the Senate are eager to get to work,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said.
Ryan pointed to the latest casualty of Obamacare - Iowa, where “the last remaining health care plan is pulling out of 94 of their 99 counties, leaving most of their citizens” without health care plans on the Obamacare market.
“What kind of protection is Obamacare if there are no plans to choose from? And this is a trend that we’re seeing all across the country. The truth is this law has failed and is collapsing. Premiums are skyrocketing, and choices are disappearing, and it is only getting worse, spiraling out of control,” Ryan said.
“And that is why we have to repeal this law and put in place a real vibrant marketplace with competition and lower premiums for families. That’s what the American Health Care Act is all about. It makes health care more affordable. It takes care of our most vulnerable, and it shifts power from Washington back to the states, and most importantly, back to you, the patient,” Ryan said.
“Republicans are committed to keeping our promise - to lift the burden of Obamacare from the American people and put in place a better, more patient-centered system,” Ryan added.
Obamacare is “dead,” the president said. “If we don’t pay lots of ransom money to the insurance companies, it would die immediately, so what we have is something very, very incredibly well-crafted.”
He predicted that with the Republican health care plan premiums and deductibles will start going down. He praised the House Republicans, calling them “an amazing group of people” who worked hard to get the American Health Care Act passed.
“This has brought the Republican Party together. As much as we’ve come up with a really incredible health care plan, this has brought the Republican Party together,” Trump said.
“A lot of people said, ‘How come you kept pushing health care, knowing how tough it is?’ Don’t forget. Obamacare took 17 months. Hillary Clinton tried so hard - really valiantly in all fairness - to get health care through. Didn’t happen. We’ve really been doing this for eight weeks if you think about it, and this is a real plan. This is a great plan, and we had no support from the other party,” he said.
The president said it will be “an unbelievable victory when we get it through the Senate.”