The American Health Care Act, which was introduced to replace Obamacare, has been a controversial bill, with many Republicans speaking out against it. Now, President Trump might be trying to bend a bit to satisfy them. Obamacare was something most Republicans were united against, but there is no doubt that the health care plan has helped millions of Americans. The new bill would need to be able to not only help more people but also take the pressure off other Americans that Obamacare put on them.
Obamacare’s high premiums, as well as its requirement of health care coverage, were horrific to Republican members of Congress. They knew if a Republican won the White House, they could not only push for a change but also get it done within the first year of the new president taking office. To his credit, one of Donald Trump’s first acts as the new president was to repeal Obamacare, which helped to lift penalties off Americans.
It was then left to the House of Representatives and the Senate to come up with a new bill that could replace Obamacare. The tricky part was that they needed to find a way to help people immediately after the bill goes into place without pushing Americans out of insurance plans they could not afford without government aid provided by the Affordable Care Act. This has been a major problem in Congress since day one of the GOP’s new bill.
House Speaker Paul Ryan first introduced the bill, and he seemed very confident early on that the bill would at least pass through the House. The problem is that since various Republicans have come out both publicly and privately against the bill, there is a risk of it not getting out of the House and into the Senate. Despite this, President Trump has put his full support behind the bill.
During a meeting with the Republican Study Committee, Trump made sure to push that he is still in support, saying he was behind the American Health Care Act 100 percent. The Hill claims it was here that Trump reportedly won the support of at least 13 members of the RSC after agreeing to allow states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients and block grant Medicaid.
Republicans are on the fence when it comes to Medicaid. Some are actually behind the Obamacare expansion that allowed federal and not state money to extend health care to more people who needed it in certain states. It was agreed then to allow this in the states that wanted it, and places like Ohio actually benefited from it. John Kasich, the governor of the state, recently met with President Trump regarding the expansion.
The Republican governor felt the expansion worked well and that it should still be allowed in the GOP bill as long as states will allow it. Meanwhile, other members of Congress, such as Rand Paul, feel that a bulk of the American Health Care Act is too similar to Obamacare and needs to be broken down and restarted, including Medicaid.
Trump’s idea could sway more Republicans to vote for it to at least get out of the House of Representatives.
Trump did not want to alarm those in favor of the original bill, as he claimed, “We made certain changes but frankly very little.”
This could have been in response to a recent CBO report that came out last week, which found 52 million people would be uninsured by 2026 if the GOP bill became law. This is compared to the 28 million who would not have coverage if Obamacare stayed in place. On top of this, the CBO actually found that the GOP bill would even increase costs for older Americans while it likely reduced the cost for younger Americans. On top of this, the CBO found at least 14 million would be uninsured as soon as next year if the GOP bill passed.
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. Once that came out, there was a risk of losing more members of the Republican Party to back the bill once voting commences. This is why President Trump discussed some changed to sway people back on the side of passing the bill.
Of course, the GOP bill will need 216 voted in order to pass the House. There are early reports that the GOP has not won enough people to get to that number, which is in spite of Republicans holding 246 seats in the House of Representatives and 52 in the Senate. Without most people on board, the House cannot get it to the Senate.
Reportedly, even if it got to the Senate as is, several state senators have already come out in opposition to the bill as it stands. While Democrats won’t back it, Republican Senators would need to if it were to get to the 52 number needed to pass to President Trump. This is why many feel the GOP bill will undergo multiple changes before it ever sees President Trump. Things would need to be fixed up to where most could get on board.
The House is set to vote next Thursday on the American Health Care Act. Right now, there are not enough backers to get the bill out of the House of Representatives. If by chance things are not changed, the bill won’t pass through and it could see some changes during its next journey through to the House. However, more alterations could very well occur between now and next week.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]