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House GOP Leaders Set Obamacare Repeal Vote for Next Week

18 March, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • Alice Vagun  The Badger Herald

President Trump says he's "100 percent behind" the House GOP health care bill.

To be sure, Ryan's American Health Care Act (AHCA) had a lot of good things in it. Last week, Ryan was pledging action next week by the House Rules Committee - the precursor to a floor vote - and confidently predicting the bill would have the votes to pass.

The Republican Governor felt the expansion worked well and that it should still be allowed in the GOP bill as long as states will allow it.

Even as Price spoke to reporters before a morning meeting with House Republicans, it remained unclear if or when top Republicans could resolve the party's internal wrangling over the high-profile measure.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said he'd been assured by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that the bill's tax credit would be adjusted to focus more benefits on lower-income people.

He added: "The House has put forward a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare [the Affordable Care Act], based on the principles I outlined in my joint address". But even if those changes occur, some say they still would worry this bill is destined to die in the Senate anyway - something Senate Republicans themselves have been predicting will happen. Meanwhile you have other members of Congress such as Rand Paul who feel a bulk of the American Health Care Act is too similar to Obamacare and needs to be broken down and restarted, this included Medicaid.

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"I think we're going to have negotiation", President Trump said of the bill in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday. They also say a tax credit to help people pay medical costs is too generous, and they want to terminate all of Obama's insurance requirements, including mandatory coverage of specified services like drug counseling.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told House Republicans that one of the changes being considered is allowing states to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients, an adjustment that could win over some conservatives, The Hill reported.

"'It's our job to get it out of here and get it to the Senate, '" Pence told the Republicans, according to Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla.

As House Speaker Paul Ryan's blueprint headed into the two legislative committees for its preliminary fine-tuning, the bill came under fierce attack from a host of opponents: Democrats, of course, but also conservatives, the health insurance industry, free-market forces and the American Hospital Association, to name a few. They oppose accelerating the phaseout of the Medicaid expansion and are unhappy with long-term cuts the measure would inflict on the entire program. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said the measure lacked the votes to pass in the Senate, where Republicans hold a precarious 52-48 majority.

Earlier in the day, Pence told House conservatives that the administration was open to changes.

Conservatives seemed likely to not achieve their demands that the GOP bill's phase-out of Obama's Medicaid expansion - now 2020 - be accelerated to next year and that the tax credit not go to people with little or no tax liability. What has been proposed so far would massively increase the number of uninsured people, and the poorest of those would lose their doctor and resume going to the ER instead, placing enormous strain on hospitals and increasing overall costs to those who are insured. This is compared to the 28 million that would not have coverage if Obamacare stayed in place. The rally was organized by FreedomWorks, a conservative group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers.

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