House passes budget measure paving way for ACA repeal

The House voted 227-198 on Friday to pass a budget resolution that sets the stage for dismantling key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The measure, which contains instructions for key House and Senate committees to dismantle the ACA through the budget reconciliation, passed the Senate earlier this week.

In a speech on the House floor prior to the vote, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., made it clear that while he welcomes ideas from Democrats in replacing the ACA, their pleas to save the law have fallen on deaf ears.

“I can’t help but think back when we were debating this law in 2010, what was said at the time. I was a member of the minority then. I stood right here and pleaded with the majority not to do this,” he said. “But they pushed it all the way through, making all kinds of promises.”

Those promises, he added, were not heeded as premiums rose and choices dwindled in the individual marketplaces and as some Americans lost their plans despite President Barack Obama’s assurance that “If you like your plan, you can keep it.”

But in her own speech on the floor, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hit back, accusing Republicans of “feeding their ideological obsession with repealing the ACA and dismantling the health and economic security of hard-working families.”

She went on to point out that the insurance coverage gain ushered in by the law “is only part of the story.” Every American benefits from the ACA who has access to healthcare, she said, including those with employer-sponsored benefits and the many individuals with pre-existing conditions.

As Congress’ budget reconciliation measure advances, Republicans have not yet nailed down a firm replacement plan for the ACA, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch Connell said recently that Republicans would take on the task in “manageable pieces."