dglobalnews.com Ryan Clings to Core of GOP Obamacare Bill as Opposition Mounts
Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Medical | By Benjamin Edwards

Ryan Clings to Core of GOP Obamacare Bill as Opposition Mounts

President Donald Trump, who supports the House Republican health care plan, said in his February 28 joint address to Congress that the federal government should "give our great state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out".

"I just want to let the world know, I am 100 percent in favor", Trump told reporters brought to the Oval Office to see the tail end of his meeting with about a dozen members of the Republican Study Committee.

Justin Amash, R-Mich., turned to Twitter after the president spoke to make it clear not all conservatives had been flipped.

Three conservative GOP lawmakers voted against the measure.

Chris Bond, spokesman for the chief GOP vote counter, Rep. Steve Scalise, said Wednesday evening "we feel very comfortable that we have a path to passage here".

Across the Capitol, Sen.

The bill had been expected to squeak through the Budget Committee, though the exact number of Republican defections was up in the air. Collins' opposition leaves the bill short of the support it needs in the Senate unless it changes, since GOP leaders can only lose two votes.

Congressional Democrats remain solidly opposed to the GOP effort.

Moderate House Republicans have voiced concerns over its cuts to Medicaid, while conservatives like Amash, a House Freedom Caucus member, say the legislation does not move far enough away from ObamaCare.

Changes may also include making tax credits for older Americans more generous, an item that could win over some moderates. Details were initially unclear, but Republicans have recently discussed using them for healthy people with no dependents.

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Cotton's stance on the legislation reflects realities on the ground in his state, where health advocates credit the Affordable Care Act with cutting how much hospitals are spending on care for uninsured patients and for a dramatic drop in the state's uninsured rate. "Instead of paying the government the mandate, they want you to pay a penalty if you lose your job or your insurance to a billion dollar insurance company", he said.

The conservative group balked at Trump's announcement that all RSC members at the White House meeting are now "yes" on the health care bill, insisting that the development does not at all change the widespread opposition within the HFC to the bill. Despite this, President Trump has put his full support behind this.

Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows said that his whip count remains unchanged at 40 noes after the changes, which he dismissed because they were optional for states.

Republicans control both Congress and the White House for the first time in a decade, but the overhaul still faces political battles to be fought by a president new to governing.

With a steady trickle of Republicans coming out against the bill, Ryan is sending the message he won't drop any of its four main elements - refundable tax credits, health savings accounts, the phaseout of Medicaid expansion and the ban on insurers denying coverage over pre-existing conditions - according to a senior Republican aide.

But some conservatives, having ousted the last House speaker, were beginning to grumble openly about Ryan's leadership. Ryan told reporters that GOP leaders could now make "some necessary improvements and refinements" to the legislation, reflecting an urgency to buttress support. And they love their constituents and they love this county.

The GOP penalty is created to encourage people of all ages and health conditions to keep their insurance even though the replacement law would not require they do so.

More changes could come next week when the bill makes a stop at the Rules Committee, before reaching the floor. "I'm listening", said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa.

The job of the whip team has only been made more hard this week by a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office score showing that 24 million more Americans could be uninsured in the next decade if the Republican bill to repeal Obamacare is passed.

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