The US House of Representatives has voted to begin the process of dismantling Obamacare – the outgoing president’s landmark health insurance law.
This comes despite concerns about not having a ready replacement.
The vote on a budget measure by 227 to 198, secured by the Republicans, sets in motion the process to repeal the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act. Earlier, on Thursday, the Senate approved the same measure.
Donald Trump has called it the “Unaffordable” health care act.
Reversing Obama’s policy was a key campaign promise of the president-elect who welcomed the latest news.
Obamacare expanded health coverage to around 20 million people who previously had none. But many people have experienced large fees and rising premiums.
The law also banned insurers from refusing coverage to people who were already ill. But some large insurers left the market.
In recent years the Republicans have voted over 60 times to repeal or alter Obamacare, without hope of changing the law as long as Obama was president.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, said Obamacare was collapsing and action was urgent as those who had insurance via the system were too penalised.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi refuted Republicans’ claims that the law was a failure, arguing that the law had slowed up the rate of growth in healthcare costs.
The choice before lawmakers, she said, was “affordable care versus chaos”.
Obamacare’s days may be numbered – but both Democrats and Republicans are concerned over what will happen if there’s nothing ready to replace it.