House expected to vote on healthcare bill; Pennsylvania plays major role

In this photo taken Feb. 28, 2017, Capitol Hill in Washington. There’s an unconventional new president in the White House and Republicans have a lock on Congress, but Washington is still up to its old tricks.Just as occurred repeatedly during the Obama administration, Congress and the White House are days from a government shutdown, engaged in familiar partisan brinkmanship that demonstrates how little has really changed in the capital under President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The ACHA, or American Health Care Act, is expected to get a vote on Capitol Hill today. Republican leaders have been working the room trying to get every vote possible. They believe they have enough votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“We have enough votes for it to pass,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Governor Tom Wolf says if this latest bill, being dubbed "Trumpcare" passes, it would cause 700,000 Pennsylvanians to lose access to healthcare. That's why he opposes the measure.

Meanwhile down in DC, the President is working feverishly with members of his own party to get the bill passed.

“We have to make sure that if we reform Medicaid, it’s important that individuals who are on Medicaid and are cycling off, that they have access through affordable healthcare through the exchanges,” said Rep. Charlie Dent, (R) PA 15th District.

It's going to be a razor thin vote on Capitol Hill today, as President Trump continues to push for what would be his first legislative victory of the new administration. The AHCA would repeal most of the taxes under Obamacare, including the penalty levied against those who didn't have insurance.

Earlier this week, the plan's future looked grim with several key Republicans holding out, voting no, because they were concerned about the lack of funding for people with pre-existing conditions. President Donald Trump assured some of the Republican holdouts that they would add an extra $8 billion over the next five years to help people in those situations pay for their premiums.

Still, one huge concern, especially here in Pennsylvania is funding for Medicaid. Pennsylvania is one of over 30 Medicaid expansion states. We met with Republican Congressman Charlie Dent down in DC last week. Despite his party affiliation and a meeting with Vice-President Mike Pence earlier this week, it still looks like he is voting no on this latest bill.

“I'm concerned about the affordability of health insurance for those who would be put on the exchanges particularly for the low and moderate income people, some of who may have been on Medicaid and will be moving to this new system,” Congressman Dent said.

Representative Dent is also worried about the cost shifting to the states. He thinks the states, and eventually taxpayers, will get hit hard by having to pay for insuring the poor.

Congressman Dent is one of 16 unofficial no Republican votes on the healthcare plan. The White House can only afford to have 22 or the measure will probably die. If it does pass the House today, it's future in the Senate is unknown.

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