GOP Tweaks Healthcare Bill for Older Americans

Rand Paul said the House GOP health care bill is unlikely to pass in Congress because there are "enough conservatives that don't want 'Obamacare lite'". "Obamacare may have helped 20 million people but probably ten times that number were hurt in the process".

Several conservative lawmakers opposed to the House GOP health care bill - Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, and Sens. Republicans expressed confidence the bill would be approved, but the vote could be tight.

A conservative group is launching a robocall campaign in 30 Republican congressional districts - including two in Central Florida - in support of President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan's health care bill. Typically, 218 votes are needed to pass a bill in the 435-member House, but five pending vacancies have reduced that threshold.

He told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that he feels "very good" about the bill ahead of Thursday's vote, vowing to make good on the Republican party's promise to "repeal and replace this faulty collapsing law".

However, Trump and other White House advisers concluded that some changes would be necessary to quell the revolt by conservatives and placate some moderates and Republican governors.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis last week said a 64-year-old with income of $26,500 would pay $1,700 out of pocket for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, compared with $14,600 under the GOP plan. They may provide clues about the types of changes the legislation will need for it to win House approval. Any substantive changes would be made by the House Rules Committee, which controls how the measure is presented and debated on the floor.

"Millions were forced to go under Obamacare because their premiums went too high and/or they lost their coverage entirely", the congressman said in an email to The Daily Times.

"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.

Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services, said the Trump administration was open to changes to address the effects on older Americans and other concerns.

Committee Democrats pushed a series of amendments to the bill that were rejected mostly along party line votes.

Cruz said during an appearance on the CBS's Face the Nation that the House bill falls far short of repealing all the Obamacare mandates and taxes, and that "it doesn't fix the problem" of rising premiums and overall costs to consumers.

The speaker previously had called the decision whether to back the bill a binary choice, but on Sunday he said that doesn't apply until the the American Health Care Act hits the floor.

Like the House plan, it calls for fundamental changes to Medicaid, but states would have many more options.

"We've talked to so many folks in the House of Representatives to try to see what their discomfort level is, if they have any, with this piece of legislation", he said.

  • Larry Hoffman