Desperate for a "win," House Republicans banded together to pass the much-derided American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace Obamacare.
The bill squeaked through, with a 217-213 vote; no Democrats voted for the bill. What's exceptional about the passage was that it happened without updated numbers from the Congressional Budget Office, which would tabulate the cost of the bill and how many people will gain or lose insurance as a result of it. The CBO analyzed the bill before several amendments were added, though; it found 24 million people would lose their insurance as a result of the previous version of the American Health Care Act.
The legislation now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it's believed that it will be further modified. Aside from likely reducing Medicaid payments, the bill would allow states to opt out of Obamacare mandates that required coverage for mental health, maternity care, and prescription drugs. States will also be allowed to decide if insurers can deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions. Planned Parenthood, which provides health services to millions of women and transgender people, will see all its Medicaid funding stripped.
By gutting the Medicaid expansion and other benefits, the proposal could complicate PrEP access and promotion in the states that adopted the Medicaid expansion. If passed, the new bill will begin to eliminate money for the Medicad expansion in 2020, potentially blocking new applicants and access to critical medication.
Most health groups and LGBT organizations saw the passage as another Republican assault on low-income people and minorities.
"The U.S. House rammed through a destructive and dangerous bill that could strip away health insurance from millions of Americans, including many in the LGBTQ community," GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said in a press release.
"Healthcare is a human right, and no one should be denied access to care because of a preexisting condition or because a program like Planned Parenthood does not fit the ideology of one political party," she added. "Now more than ever, it's time to buckle down and keep fighting to protect the healthcare that the LGBTQ community deserves."