WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is arguing the health care debate has "really brought the Republican Party together."
He's noting that the party includes many different groups, from conservatives to more moderate Republicans, and that sometimes work at cross-purposes. But hashing out the details on health care, Trump says, helps lay the groundwork for other legislative lifts, such as overhauling the tax code. "This really helps it," he says.
He adds that he expects to have a "tremendous" four - or maybe even eight - years.
Relieved Republicans have pushed their prized health care bill through the House. The mostly party-line 217-213 vote advances a bill that addresses their longtime pledge to erase the 2010 Obama health care law.
“Significantly, those with pre-existing conditions are guaranteed protection in the American Health Care Act," Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. said. "Patients with pre-existing conditions will not be denied insurance, nor should they ever be. To ensure that insurance remains affordable for patients with pre-existing conditions, we’ve included an $8 billion fund to help offset premiums costs for those patients.
“The new system also retains some of the effective provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including allowing those under 26 years old to stay on their parents’ plans.”
Thursday's vote sends the measure to the Senate. Many senators consider the House bill too harsh and it's expected to undergo substantial changes.
“The American Health Care Act takes health care out of the hands of Washington, D.C. bureaucrats and puts it back where it belongs: in the hands of the patients,” Okla. Rep. Markwayne Mullin added.
The House measure collapsed in March due to opposition by conservative and moderate GOP lawmakers. House leaders abandoned another attempt to pass the bill last week after support was lacking.
Leaders finally rounded up enough support after adding money aimed at helping seriously ill patients afford their medical costs.
Democrats said the bill would kick millions off coverage. They predicted Republicans would pay the price in next year's elections.