Second House committee clears Obamacare replacement after marathon markup session


A second House committee has advanced a Republican bill intended to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law.

After more than 24 hours of markup debate in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, lawmakers voted along party lines to advance the American Health Care Act in a 31-23 vote.

"Today, the House took a decisive step forward in fulfilling a promise to the American people that has been years in the making: repealing and replacing Obamacare with affordable, patient-centered reforms," Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., said in a statement. "After conducting an open and transparent markup, we are proud to put forth a plan that represents a Better Way for patients and families."

Democrats elongated the process by trying to tag numerous amendments onto the bill, including measures that would preserve a public health fund, add a provision to reduce the price of prescription drugs and remove language from the bill that would strip funding from Planned Parenthood for a year. The amendments were defeated.

The bill advanced earlier in the day through the Ways and Means Committee, and is next headed to the Budget Committee and then to the Rules Committee.

A full vote in the House is expected by late March or early April.

Democrats have criticized Republicans for moving too fast in their efforts to overhaul the health care system and have said that the bill, if passed, would cause millions to become uninsured. They've also criticized Republicans for marking up the bill before it is scored by the independent Congressional Budget Office, which is expected to project how many people could lose coverage and how much the bill will cost the federal government.

Republican proponents have said they expect a CBO score early next week, though they also are facing opposition to the bill from within their own party, both in the House and in the Senate.

President Donald Trump, who has pledged his support for the bill, on Thursday dismissed reports of turmoil over the legislation.

"Despite what you hear in the press, health care is coming along great," he tweeted. "We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!"

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