Lehigh Valley

What's next for the American Health Care Act?

VIDEO: ACHA what's next?

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - On Thursday, the U.S. House of Republicans took a step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act enacted under President Obama.

The House, with a Republican majority, managed to pass the American Health Care Act, though not all Republicans voted in favor of the measure.

Chris Borick, political science professor at Muhlenberg College, said today’s vote is symbolically important and moves the ball forward but it’s nowhere near the finish line.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill next.

"In all likelihood, what you're going to see if it does emerge from the Senate, is a very, very different type of legislation that will ultimately have to be brought together and unified with the House bill," Borick said.

Borick said the back and forth between the Senate and the House, despite Republican majority in both, could be a lengthy process.

He said the Republicans in particular are in a vulnerable position with the 2018 midterm elections.

"It has major risks for Republicans right now. They have promised to make change but it's a much more difficult thing when you have power," Borick said.

Health care will likely be a key issue in future elections and it’s something lawmakers are keeping in the back of their minds when deciding how to vote on the issue.

"Just like the Affordable Care Act did in 2010, it might come back to haunt legislators when they go for reelection. In 2010, it was largely Democrats who paid the price for their votes to approve the Affordable Care Act," Borick said.

Regardless of the outcome, whether or not the Affordable Care Act gets repealed, Borick said it’s not likely an issue voters will soon forget.

"There are very few issues that are more salient to voters than health care. It matters to us, very personal. In many cases, life or death," Borick said.


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