House Republicans pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, send bill to Senate

In a major moment for the Trump administration, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare by a 217-213 margin on Thursday.

The first step in the process of dismantling former President Barack Obama's signature health care law comes almost exactly six weeks after the GOP's first failed attempt to repeal the law within the first 100 days of the Trump administration.

Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull the initial vote on American Health Care Act in late March, but offered new amendments this time to court conservative members of the House Freedom caucus -- like one offering states the ability to opt out of providing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions upped the conservative vote tally.

Moderate Republicans, though, ended up voicing new opposition, and 20 Republican congressmen ended up voting no on the Obamacare replacement bill.

One of the most discussed parts of the bill is how it changes coverage for people with a history of illness, one of the most popular elements of Obama's Affordable Care Act.

President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress continually promised to maintain the coverage in the bill, but wavering moderate Republicans had worried that the initial legislation would undo the popular aspect of Obamacare.

RELATED: A look at the contentious American Health Care Act

Skeptical Republican lawmakers got behind the bill after meeting with Trump to float a compromise proposal, which would add $8 billion over five years to help cover the cost for people with pre-existing illnesses who could otherwise be priced out of insurance markets.

Members of the Freedom Caucus, a faction of conservative House lawmakers who played a key role in derailing the original Republican version last month, said they could go along with the compromise.

Republicans used the congressional reconciliation process -- which only requires a simple majority of 216 votes to pass a bill -- to move their Affordable Care Act replacement through the House. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it needs 51 votes to clear the Capitol Hill chamber.

(Reuters contributed to this report)