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House panel approves troubled GOP health care bill

19 March 2017, 11:38 | Winifred Adams

House panel approves troubled GOP health care bill

House Paul Ryan of Wis. speaks during a news conference at Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ryan said he will seek changes to a divisive GOP health care bill to provide

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Monday that 14 million Americans would lose medical insurance next year under the Republican plan.

At an all-hands meeting Wednesday evening of House GOP lawmakers, Vice President Mike Pence and party leaders urged their rank-and-file to rally behind the legislation.

Of the 24 million people expected to lose coverage by 2026 under the GOP bill, a disproportionate share would be those between the ages of 50 and 64 with incomes below roughly $30,300 for an individual.

The House Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act has been handled like a state secret, and now we know why.

Republicans have traditionally been more supportive of the CBO, using it to counter more rosy estimates made by the Clinton and Obama administrations. The 2010 law, Democratic President Barack Obama's signature legislation, provided 20 million previously uninsured Americans with health coverage.

"Remember this. If we didn't do it the way we're doing it, we need 60 votes, so we'd have to get the Democrats involved". The rate of uninsured would rise drastically, both because the law would do away with the requirement that people either obtain insurance or pay a fine and, in the later years, because of changes to Medicaid rules and spending is capped, according to CBO.

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"Oh heck, yes", said one conservative leader, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, when asked if the GOP legislation needed changes to win his support.

The Affordable Care Act is essentially a plan that owes most of its best ideas to the Republican Party - and specifically to Republican Governor Mitt Romney.

But conservative Republicans said they could not support the plan without significant changes. "And the people will see that".

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the Republican leadership, said Senate Republicans could take steps to make the bill "more helpful to people on the lower end".

"Unless we gave it massive subsidies, it's not going to be there", he said. While the change may seem relatively minor to most people, Davis said, it would have a profound impact on people with diminished or impaired mental capacity. "No matter what you do. you're going to have differences like that, and to be honest with you, I don't think they truly looked at all the aspects", he said. But House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan has already acknowledged that fewer people will have insurance under the plan he is pushing with Trump's support.

Nationally, more than 8 in 10 enrollees were eligible for income-based tax credits to help pay their premiums, and almost 6 in 10 were eligible for additional assistance with out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments, the report said. A senior GOP aide says they won two modifications to the bill during the White House meeting: an optional change to the way states receive Medicaid funding (if they want a block grant instead of federal payments based on per capita enrollment they can) and states would be given incentives to impose work requirements on those receiving Medicaid.



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