Sunday 21 January 2018

Obama's healthcare bill has to be voted on again

Toby Harnden in Iowa City

THE House of Representatives will have to vote on President Barack Obama's healthcare bill again after Republicans successfully challenged the legality of the legislation.

The surprise decision set the stage for another contentious ballot in the House, which narrowly passed the measure amid acrimonious scenes on Sunday.

It means the finishing touches to the bill that was signed into law by the president on Tuesday could be delayed until the weekend.

The new vote was forced when Alan Frumin, the Senate Parliamentarian, upheld Republican challenges linked to the package's overhaul of university finance.

Two points relating to student loans were found to violate Senate procedure, despite being described as "relatively minor provisions".

His ruling means that 16 lines will be expunged from the bill and the revised version will have to be voted on by the House.

"We are confident the House will quickly pass the bill with these minor changes," said a spokesman for Tom Harkin, the Democratic chairman of the senate health committee.

The setback came as the FBI and police were called in after Democrats received violent threats and abusive messages after the bill was passed.

Steny Hoyer, the Democratic House majority leader, said that more than 10 members had reported "very serious" incidents since the vote.

Mr Obama flew to Iowa for a rally on Thursday in an attempt to sell the merits of the bill to the American people.

Iowa City was the place he first unveiled his healthcare plan in 2007.

The law signed by Mr Obama expands insurance coverage to 32 million more Americans and imposes new regulations to prevent insurance companies from refusing to cover patients with pre-existing medical conditions. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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