President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a bill that will slash spending for the nation’s health care system, leaving Republicans with only one option: to pass it without a Democratic-controlled Congress.
The measure includes some of Trump’s signature proposals, including one that would slash Medicaid by more than half over a decade, and would slash subsidies for the health insurance program for low-income families by more that $2,500.
The legislation also caps the cost of private health insurance plans at a level that the Congressional Budget Office says would be affordable to millions of Americans.
But Republicans in the House of Representatives have said they want to use the bill to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a more generous version that would be much less expensive for most Americans.
In a sign of the political challenge ahead, Democrats held firm on their opposition to the bill, with at least one House Democrat warning that they could use the health care measure to dismantle Obamacare.
“We are not going to be using the bill as an excuse to get rid of Obamacare,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.
“We are going to stand up for people who have been hit the hardest by the ACA.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also said that Republicans are “playing politics with Americans’ health care.”
“The American people are being ripped off and their health care is being ripped from them,” Schumer said in a statement.
“The President should have taken the advice of his own party and voted against this legislation.
I urge Republicans to act on this matter now.”
Democrats were disappointed with how the bill was presented, as Democrats had been pushing for the bill for months.
Democrats had hoped the bill would show Democrats’ “skin in the game” in the fight for health care reform.
The White House on Wednesday praised the bill’s passage, saying it’s the first step toward a plan that will “ensure that millions of people will be able to keep their coverage.”
The White Trump administration on Wednesday said that the bill will save money by repealing Obamacare and replacing it with something more affordable.
Trump and Democrats are hoping to get the Senate to pass the bill before the end of the month.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Wednesday that he believes the bill “has a chance” of passing the Senate.
But Democrats have said that they are not confident it can be passed in the GOP-controlled House.
“I think this is a bad bill, and I think we’ll have to see where the other votes are,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a member of the Senate health committee.
Carper and other Democrats have expressed skepticism that the Senate can pass the legislation before the Nov. 7 election.
Trump’s signature legislative achievement is a sweeping rewrite of the nations health care law that includes major changes to Medicaid.
The measure also would dramatically cut Medicare’s budget and shift billions of dollars of its funding to private insurers, while allowing the government to charge higher premiums for some Americans.
Democrats have complained that Republicans’ plans to cut Medicaid would make the program unaffordable for many Americans, while Trump has said that it would be the best insurance program.