US House passes bill to repeal Obamacare

Washington: The US Republican-controlled House of Representatives pushed through a new version of American Health Care Act aimed to repeal and replace Obamacare, by a vote of 217-213.

The vote on Thursday was thought in high stakes but a major breakthrough for US President Donald Trump who failed to get any major legislation passed by Congress during his first 100 days in the White House, Xinhua news agency reported.

House Republican leaders have scrambled for enough support for the vote after having a series of changes added since an earlier version was pulled from a House floor voting at the last minute in March.

"We cannot wait for Obamacare to collapse. We have to transform this, and that's what we'll do today," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy before the voting. 

Under the latest version of the House bill, all 50 U.S. states are allowed to apply for waivers from key provisions of Obamacare, the signature legislation by former President Barack Obama.

The bill will also provide extra $8 billion over five years for high-risk pools aimed at helping states and insurers deal with high-cost patients. Including the additional money, a total of $138 billion will be funded for the high-risk pools over the next decade. 

The bill is now sent to the Senate where it is expected to face significant hurdles.

"If victorious, Republicans will be having a big press conference at the beautiful Rose Garden of the White House immediately after vote!" Trump tweeted minutes before the voting.