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The House Ways and Means Committee cleared the first hurdle in the path to replace the Affordable Care Act early Thursday morning, USA Today reports.

Committee members OK’d the new legislation after a grueling 18-hour session, with Republicans voting 23-16. A second committee, the House Energy & Commerce Committee remains locked in debate over the bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act, CNN reports.

According to the outlet, lawmakers gutted the tax penalty imposed by Obamacare which requires a tax penalty for anyone who refuses to purchase insurance. The ACA’s individual mandate clause was one portion of Obamacare GOP lawmakers eagerly sought to dismantle.

GOP members of congress still have a long uphill battle to fight not only along partisan lines against democratic colleagues, but with strong opposition from leading medical professional organizations.

On Wednesday, the American Medical Association sent a letter to the two debating committees, cautioning against approving the legislation, CNN reports.

“While we agree that there are problems with the ACA that must be addressed, we cannot support the AHCA as drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations,” the letter stated.
The American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals and the AARP, also voiced opposition to the bill.
President Trump met with several resistant conservative groups, along with White House senior advisors on Wednesday in an effort to drum up support for the congressional bill.
“This is going to be great. You’re going to make it even greater,” the President told the group, CNN reports. “I’m going to work hard to get it done.”
But according to the outlet who spoke with sources at the White House, Trump voiced a harrowing confession during the meeting: if the ACHA doesn’t pass through congress, he’ll allow Obamacare to fail and place the blame on Democrats.

SOURCE: USA TodayCNN

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