Actually it’s more of a perception than a physical fact – for the moment at least. If the highly controversial Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act (ACA) were human, today’s passing of the GOP’s version called American Healthcare Act (AHCA) means the former is now in a coma.
What it really means is that until the Senate also passes today's House bill (not as is but with modified provisions which is more than likely) and the final version sent back to the Lower House for renewed passage prior to being eventually ratified by both Houses, Obamacare will remain in life support.
However, considering the failed attempt by Speaker Paul Ryan and cohorts last March to repeal and replace Obamacare, today’s narrow win in the Lower House (217 votes, just one more than the required minimum) is still a historic first step in the process of 'reforming' the existing law. Now that is quite different from strictly replacing it. Certainly not quite the simple and sweeping one-step ‘clean’ packaged bill that a group of Republican lawmakers who call themselves Freedom Caucus tried to pursue earlier. What they hoped to achieve then -- while easy in the repeal part, was just far too complex in the replacement segment. Such is the nature of Obamacare.
In reality the new AHCA will essentially prevent the cantankerous and ‘unaffordable’ Affordable Care Act from self-destruction which is unavoidable if nothing is done about it soon. Its inevitable collapse will be due to 1) rising premiums (more than 100% in some states like Arizona); 2) rising deductibles (that renders the program beyond the economic reach of many people); 3) disappearing insurers in many states (leaving people without coverage at all); 4) crippling mandates or penalties and; 4) forced coverages (such as pregnancy provisions for nuns!).
President Donald Trump has reason to rejoice of course. It is the fulfillment of his number one promise during last year’s election. Or at least the beginning of it. What Congress did was pronounce it dead but unless and until it is replaced it cannot be buried.