In a possible breakthrough for President Donald Trump, Republicans in the House of Representatives plan to hold a vote today (May 4) to repeal and replace Obamacare.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy expressed confidence the bill would pass and several moderate Republican lawmakers who previously had objections to the bill said they could now support it.
One sticking point has been criticism that the measure does not protect patients with pre-existing conditions.
Keen to score his first major legislative win since taking office in January, Trump has been personally engaged in building support among fellow Republicans in the House. Attempts to get the bill through have collapsed twice.
President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act came into effect in 2010 extending health insurance to the 15 percent of the US population who had none.
But Republicans claim it’s government “over reaching itself” and it has driven up costs.
The replacement for Obamacare, the American Health Care Act, sometimes called “Trumpcare”, keeps a variety of key provisions from its predecessor and creates an $8 billion fund to cover costs for those with pre-existing conditions who would face higher costs under the new system. However it also includes a cut in Medicaid, the programme that provides insurance for the poor.
Democrats who oppose the bill say the fund is inadequate.
Even if the House advances the legislation, it still faces a major hurdles in the Senate where Democrats believe only a few Republicans would have to defect to stop the law from progressing.