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Obamacare light?

Soric Miodrag Kommentarbild App
Miodrag Soric
May 5, 2017

Republicans in the House of Representatives passed President Trump's bill that would partially undo the health care insurance adopted under his predecessor. DW's Miodrag Soric weighs in from Washington, DC.

USA Wahl zur Aufhebung von Obamacare
Image: Reuters/C. Barria

Every American should be the master of his or her own fate. With these words, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan campaigned for "Obamacare" reform. In doing so, he suggested American citizens were at threat of having Washington bureaucrats determine that fate. But that is nonsense: In reality, yet another piece of social solidarity with those who can no longer help themselves will break away. 

Read: US House of Representatives pass legislation to repeal Obamacare

"Trumpcare," as the Republican bill is called, means that the state will recede even further. Millions of Americans could lose their insurance - in spite of Republicans' many assurances to the contrary. Americans with pre-existing medical conditions or chronic illness supposedly will remain insured. What remains unclear, however, is where the funds for that will come from.

Soric Miodrag Kommentarbild App
Miodrag Soric is DW's Washington correspondent

But the Republican bill is still just that: a bill - and not yet a law. The Senate still has to ratify it. Before that vote, the upper chamber will propose further changes, meaning the negotiation marathon will continue. It could last months.

Nevertheless, from Donald Trump's perspective, the House of Representative's vote was a success. Republicans have been touting their desire to do away with "Obamacare" and replace it with something better. Such attempts have failed until now. The current vote in the House of Representatives signals that Republicans under Trump are capable of acting - that they can govern.

The battle is won, not yet the war

This victory will embolden the Republican party. Now, in Washington's backrooms, work on a tax reform that would further benefit the wealthy will intensify. Wall Street will be delighted. Lower tax and social spending mean higher stock prices. Or, as one broker cynically concluded: the stock market is no welfare office.

The successful vote in the House of Representatives will ensure that Trump and the House Speaker get along better in the future. Paul Ryan handed Trump his first "legislative success." That strengthens ties. All speculation about possibly replacing the Speaker has been silenced. 

Read: 100 days as president: Trump's top 5 campaign promises

Should foreign nations even address American health care reform, address these domestic quarrels? Absolutely. They indicate the power structure in the US capital. Republicans have long felt this president to be a stranger. Now they are following him. This also strengthens Trump's position in the world. Yet the destruction of social spending in America is a cause for concern. What can poorer nations expect from Washington, when the government walks away from its responsibility toward the country's weakest citizens?