Georgia Republicans help pass Obamacare repeal

After seven years of attempting to undo Obamacare, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives finally took the first step toward repealing and replacing the broken healthcare law.

On Thursday, Congress approved H.R. 1628, also called "The American Healthcare Act," by a vote of 217-213. It was the first actionin a "three-phased" plan to improve the nation's healthcare system. Some of the major provisions of the bill include:

·         Repealing the individual and employer mandates in Obamacare

·         Doubling the cap on how much can be contributed to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and expanding where they can be used

·         Offering $2,000 to $4,000 in tax credits to help individuals purchase insurance if they do not have coverage through work

·         Allowing states to opt-out of certain rules in Obamacare

·         Providing states with $138 billion over 10 years to help provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, drug addictions, and mental healthcare needs

·         Ending Medicaid as an "open-ended" entitlement

While a total of 20 Republicans voted against the healthcare bill, none of Georgia's GOP Representatives were among them. In the Peach State, members of Congress split entirely along party lines, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats opposing against the measure.

One controversial provision, which exempts Congressmen and their staff from the law, did catch some heat from those like Rep. Drew Ferguson. He said in a statement that "members of Congress should not receive any special treatment under the law.” 

Overall, most Georgia lawmakers still said the bill's passage is an improvement.

"Today is a big win in the fight to repeal and replace Obamacare and it won't be the last," Rep Buddy Carter said.

After seven years of fighting for a repeal, Rep. Rob Woodall said the bill "represents a thoughtful plan to keep the good ideas from the past, but also to start eliminating failed and damaging ones." 

The American Healthcare Act will now go to the Senate for consideration.