Republican leaders plan to bring the American Health Care Act to the floor of the House for a vote next Thursday, and President Trump is now publicly applying his deal-making skills to ensure passage.
The Republican Party’s most passionate pitch man for its health care bill was at it again Wednesday morning with the same message: Everything is going according to plan.
As proposed, the repeal legislation would do away with most of the Affordable Care Act’s taxes and fines, while maintaining some of its more popular components, such as the prohibition against insurers refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and the requirement that parents be allowed to keep adult children on their policies until they turn 26.
According to a poll from Public Policy Polling, only 24 percent of voters support the plan, and the GOP caucus itself is split: while the right flank attacks the bill as “Obamacare lite”, moderate Republicans are concerned over the cuts to Medicaid, the projected drop in the overall insured rate, and the proposal to defund Planned Parenthood.
Conservatives and moderate House Republicans want to shove the bill in opposing directions, GOP senators are rebelling and Republican governors say the House bill gives them nearly no new flexibility and lacks sufficient resources to protect the vulnerable.
Trumpcare legislation, which is in the House, also would halt subsidies to buy health coverage, replacing them with reduced tax credits.
Under the Affordable Care Act, 31 states and the District of Columbia expanded their Medicaid programs, providing coverage to about 11 million Americans. Everyone would be well advised to familiarize themselves with the provisions of this bill. Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas have voiced strong objections, and Senate moderates don’t want to boot constituents off coverage.
An ever-defiant President Donald Trump on Friday doubled down on his claim that Barack Obama’s administration tapped his phones, telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel the duo might both be victims of Obama-led spying.
Republicans are on the fence when it comes to Medicaid.
Lawmakers said the two sides agreed to additional restrictions on Medicaid that states would be allowed to choose. That included a number of Republican-led states, including IN under Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor there.
Underscoring GOP leaders’ push-and-pull problem, around 60 conservatives who met with Pence proposed revisions in the other direction, including a hastening of the Medicaid expansion phaseout to 2018 instead of the legislation’s 2020. He said the change “doesn’t move the ball more than a couple yards on a very long playing field”. That includes 14 million who’d lost it next year – a scary scenario for lawmakers facing re-election next year, and overt GOP opposition has grown since that report was released.
The CBO analysis reportedly shook members of Congress, as many were already on the fence regarding the American Health Care Act before the CBO did any sort of analysis.
“Oh heck, yes”, said one conservative leader, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, asked if the GOP legislation needed changes to win his support. This is why President Trump had to talk of changes, which may help to sway people back on the side of passing the bill through. That wasn’t enough to topple the 19 Republicans who did support it. Medicaid covers more than 70 million people, and its future is expected to be a central issue in the Senate. This is why support needs to be assured if the bill is ever to go through. Needle wanted to know how low-income women could continue receiving health care services if the organization they depend on is defunded through the Republican legislation.
“(Are you) going to treat healthy kids who need quality health care the same way you’re going to treat a disabled individual or an older individual?”
Of course, maybe it’s “never been done before” because enough politicians stood up to resist the cruel idea of tossing so many people overboard. Unfortunately for them, there is always the danger that changes in a high profile area like health care could run afoul of the so-called Pottery Barn rule, “you break it, you own it”. However, more alterations could very well occur between now and next week.