With less than a week to go until the new year, the Senate has begun passing the first piece of the massive health care overhaul.
The Senate passed the American Health Care Act on Wednesday, and now it heads to the House where lawmakers are expected to take up the legislation over the weekend.
While the bill was introduced by Sens.
Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., it contains some controversial elements that will likely draw ire from the Republican Party, which is trying to get its agenda passed.
For example, Murray and Cassidy have both voted to repeal a law that requires Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.
The bill would have allowed individuals to remain uninsured, even if they had insurance through their jobs.
While those votes have already caused some blowback from the White House, many Senate Democrats have been supportive of the legislation and are hoping to move it along.
The House bill, on the other hand, will likely be a tougher sell with Republicans on board.
The legislation is not likely to be approved by the Senate as early as this week, however, and it’s possible that the legislation will be sent to President Donald Trump’s desk before then.
The House bill would also expand Medicaid to millions of low-income Americans, a move that would likely attract a backlash from Republicans who see it as a government takeover of the health care system.
Republicans in the House are likely to vote to keep the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, but also add a provision that would give states more flexibility in how they spend the money, such as allowing them to use the money to help expand Medicaid.
The American Health Law would be the first major piece of health care legislation since the Senate passed its version of the bill earlier this year.
The Senate is expected to vote on its own version of a similar bill sometime next week.