Trump takes victory lap, says Obamacare is 'essentially dead' after House passes GOP healthcare bill


President Donald Trump cheered the passage of the American Health Care Act in the House at a ceremony with Republican lawmakers at the White House.

"It's dead, it's essentially dead, unless we pay a lot of ransom money to the insurance companies," Trump said in the Rose Garden. "What we have is something that is very, very, incredibly well-crafted.

Trump also thanked the House GOP leadership, specifically House Speaker Paul Ryan, for getting the bill through the House.

"For the last week I've been hearing, 'Paul Ryan doesn't have it, it's not working out with Paul Ryan, he's going to get rid of Paul Ryan,' but then today I heard 'Paul Ryan is a genius'," Trump said.

The president also promised to get it through the Senate.

"It's going to be an unbelievable victory when we get it through the Senate, and there's so much spirit there," Trump said.

Trump delayed a trip to New York City to meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to wait until after the vote was held.

Vice President Mike Pence, who had been spearheading the White House effort to swing members' votes, also celebrated the passage.

"Thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump, welcome to the beginning of the end of Obamacare," Pence said.

The AHCA succeeded after a last-minute amendment was added to the bill on Wednesday night to win over moderate holdouts. The addition convinced members who expressed concern over changes to the bill that experts said would undermine protections for Americans with preexisting conditions.

A victorious House vote for Republicans comes just over a month after the original version of the AHCA was yanked from the House floor after a cohort of moderates and conservatives in the GOP conference opposed it.

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