March 27, 2017

J. Denny Weaver: Ryan's health care bill reveals his values

20 March 2017, 09:23 | Darin Griffith

With their party sorely divided between conservatives who complain the plan doesn't go far enough to dismantle Obamacare's mandates and tax increases and moderates fretting the loss of expanded Medicaid coverage for millions of their constituents, passing the American Health Care Act will be problematic.

WASHINGTON (AP) - In a story March 17 about the House Republican health care bill, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., is a freshman from the Hudson River Valley.

Ryan on Sunday said he felt "very good" that the House would pass the Republicans' healthcare bill, even as changes were being made to lure votes, such as providing more assistance for older Americans.

A House vote was scheduled for Thursday.

"I think Paul Ryan's selling him a bill of goods that he didn't explain to the president", Republican senator Rand Paul told CNN.

According to the Daily Beast, a newsletter sent by President Donald Trump's administration featured a story by Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri and headlined, "Trump's budget makes flawless sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why". "He's the one who has helped negotiate the changes in this bill with members from all over our caucus".

The Congressional Budget Office reports that as the bill stands now, 24 million fewer Americans will be insured over the next 10 years and it will result in higher premiums for older Americans on fixed incomes, as well as low-income Americans. That left Senate GOP leaders at least two votes shy of what they'd need to prevail in the chamber, which they control 52-48.

Ryan said Sunday that the bill still must go before the House Rules Committee before a final vote.

Ryan and President Trump have been scrambling for days to try to salvage the House GOP plan to replace Obamacare with a more conservative, market-oriented approach and the gradual phasing out of expanded Medicaid coverage in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

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Ryan also said Republicans are working on changes that would allow federal block grants to states for Medicaid.

"I'm very impressed with how the president is helping us close this bill", Mr. Ryan said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price also said legislative revisions were possible.

"We've talked to so many folks in the House of Representatives to try to see what their discomfort level is, if they have any, with this piece of legislation", he said.

"My fear is that a year from now people are going to come back and we're going to have all the same arguments that insurance premiums are still going through the roof and we still have a mess", he said.

Critics say it would make health insurance more expensive for individuals, especially older adults and those with modest incomes.

"The current House bill, as drafted, I do not believe it would pass the Senate", Sen.

In an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Cruz briefly discussed his Mar-a-Lago visit, saying the meeting with the President's team spanned three hours.

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