March 23, 2017

Trump OKs changes in GOP health care bill, winning support

20 March 2017, 04:29 | Marion Schneider

Is Trump keeping his three big health care promises?

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady , Rep. Sam Johnson  and ranking member Rep. Richard Neal hold a markup hearing to begin work on the proposed American Health Care Act the Republican attempt to repeal

After meeting with members of the conservative Republican Study Committee this week, Trump announced that the lawmakers in the room who had previously been "no" votes were now on board, thanks to legislative changes that the White House and House GOP leaders had agreed to.

"I just want to let the world know I am 100 percent in favor and these folks...they are tough and they love their constituents and they love their country- these folks were no's, mostly no's yesterday and now every single one is a yes", Trump told reporters following the meeting.

Like a doomed college basketball team with key injuries, a coach on the "hot seat", and players at each other's throats lurching into the abattoir of March Madness, the GOP effort to enact the American Health Care Act moved forward in the House today.

The House Rules Committee also must approve the legislation before it is cleared for a floor vote.

It will require substantial revisions to win the support of moderate Republicans in the upper chamber - something that will likely make it unacceptable to conservatives. The panel can't make significant changes but was expected to endorse non-binding, suggested changes to nail down votes. It would shrink the tax credits they use to help buy insurance and it would increase their premiums because the bill allows insurers to charge more as people age and become more susceptible to health problems.

"We're keeping our promise", Ryan said.

"We think we should be offering even more assistance than the bill now does", for lower-income people age 50 to 64, Ryan told Fox News Sunday of the tax credits for health insurance that are proposed in the legislation.

The Freedom Caucus is putting its main focus on bringing down premiums, which it says the current House GOP bill fails to do.

Ryan however, apparently, believes that Trump has what it takes to clinch the necessary votes, describing the president as "a great closer", and praising him for negotiating changes to the health care plan. The governors said they support the goal of repealing "Obamacare" but want to avoid collateral damage.

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"'It's our job to get it out of here and get it to the Senate, '" Pence told Republicans, according to Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla. One leading House conservative said the alterations were insufficient and claimed enough allies to sink the measure, and support among moderates remained uncertain.

"What they're saying is that this isn't freedom, this isn't people voluntarily deciding not to have health insurance", Wallace remarked.

Ryan has faced blowback from members of the House Freedom Caucus over certain provisions contained in the American Health Care Act such as inclusion of refundable tax credits to compensate for the elimination of federal tax subsides that under the Affordable Care Act are allocated to those who can not afford to pay their monthly premiums. All Democrats voted against the motion. They oppose accelerating the phase-out of the Medicaid expansion and are unhappy with long-term cuts the measure would inflict on the entire program.

"That's not something that the president's willing to do", said Price.

After the House GOP revealed its long-awaited plan to repeal and replace Obamacare last week, Ryan has been fielding complaints from all sides of the House Republican conference.

In a new complication, Sen.

Ryan can afford to lose no more than 21 Republicans.

A House vote was scheduled for Thursday. "If you want to leave it like it is, and don't change Obamacare, then Rand Paul is probably doing the right thing, because it's not going to change".

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said on ABC about the negotiations in the House: "It's a fine needle that needs to be thread".

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