Ryan Confident About Health Plan's Passage, After Change To Help Seniors
20 March, 2017, 09:25 | Author: Mae Harvey
Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged today that his health-care proposal must change to pass the House, and said he is prepared to change it.
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"We think we should be offering more assistance than the bill now does", for lower-income people age 50 to 64, Ryan said of the tax credits for health insurance that are proposed in the legislation.
"We believe we should have even more assistance".
"I think Thursday is most likely the day to bring it forward", the Wisconsin Republican told "Fox News Sunday". "It's that your plan makes it unaffordable for people". Among the bill's provisions is an increase in so-called age banding, allowing older people to be charged up to five times the premiums for younger individuals; current law sets a 3:1 maximum on age banding.
GOP Sen. Susan Collins of ME, for example, said this week that she could not support the House bill in its current form, particularly because of its effects on the ability of low-income seniors to afford health insurance. The report found that 24 million people would become uninsured by 2026.
"When the vote comes up, that's when it will be a binary choice", Mr. Ryan said.
The House bill - called the American Health Care Act - would repeal major elements of former President Barack Obama's law, create a new, leaner system of tax credits for health insurance, and cap future federal spending on Medicaid for low-income people. "It's fixable, but it's going to take a lot of work, and we need to roll up our sleeves and focus on fixing those problems rather than trying to rush to some arbitrary deadline".
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price also said legislative revisions were possible.
"We like the process because it's the regular order process".
He repeatedly lauded President Trump's effort to garner support among congressional Republicans. It landed as Republican moderates and conservatives in the House remained split, and senators expressed reservations. He joins GOP Rep. John Katko, from a closely divided district in upstate NY, who cited inadequate insurance access and cost controls.
If the healthcare bill were to pass the House, it also would face significant challenges in the Senate.
To ensure a good reception from moderate hold-outs, a revised plan presumably would have to be more generous with tax credits and/or Medicaid. Ted Cruz of Texas said Sunday he wouldn't vote for it as is.
"I can not vote for any bill that keeps premiums rising", Cruz said. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, left, and Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., work on the Republican health care bill in the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March, 16, 2017.
"Those are all things that we are working", he said.
"We're not going to make people buy something that's so expensive that they can't afford, that the market is not going to offer", the Speaker insisted.
Democrats have been heavily critical of the new health care plan while conservative Republicans have described it as 'Obamacare-lite'.
The calls follow a TV ad blitz launched last week, part of of a $10 million campaign in favor of Obamacare repeal by the American Action Network, based in Washington, D.C.
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