The Basic GOP Bill Remains Unchanged But There Were a Few Tweaks
Federal government assistance to seniors and others paying the most for healthcare has been expanded in the form of a tax deduction. People who spend more than 5.8% of their income on health expenses will be allowed to deduct the expenses.
The measure will also pave the way for the Senate, if it chooses, to make the bill’s tax credits more generous for people age 50 to 65.
Elimination of the taxes under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act will move faster. It accelerates the repeal of tax increases on higher earners, the medical industry and others Those will be gone in 2017 instead of 2018.
States will have more options for Medicaid while further limiting who can sign up for the program. The date for freezing Medicaid expansion is still 2019 as written under the ACA (Obamacare Sr.). However, the number of people are limited by blocking any of the 19 states that don’t have the expansion from signing up.
The GOP added more flexibility for states that can choose between getting Medicaid money as a large block grant rather than by recipient.The states will be allowed to add a work requirement of spending per recipient [who is not pregnant].
Trump met with congressional Republicans behind closed doors and warned them they could lose their seats in next year’s midterm elections if they failed to back the GOP health care overhaul and fulfill a long-promised goal to undo Obamacare Sr., the AP reported.
Trump’s message to Republicans: “If you don’t pass the bill there could be political costs,” said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.
The lawmaker quoted Trump as saying House GOP seats could be at risk if the bill fails and “the danger of your not voting for the bill is people could lose their seats.”
“If the Freedom Caucus kills this bill, which they could, then they will have voted to continue Obamacare, which, as the president pointed out, in 2018 probably means we would lose the House and the Senate,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.).
“This is do or die on Thursday for the Republicans in the midterm election,” Collins said.
At a rally Monday night in Louisville, Kentucky, Trump underscored what he called “the crucial House vote.” He also called out Rand Paul who opposes it.
“This is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare,” he said of repealing former Obama’s landmark law, a GOP goal since its 2010 enactment. “We’re going to do it.”
Trump said Tuesday that he is looking to get “this bill passed, in some form, so that we can pass massive tax reform, which we can’t do till this happens.”
Conservative think tank Heritage continues to oppose it because the massive federal government takeover of healthcare is still in place. The interior design is different but the building is the same. In fact, it entrenches the framework.
In a post on the group’s website Tuesday, Heritage Action’s Wesley Coopersmith wrote that “the main problem with the repeal portion of the bill is the failure to repeal most of the insurance regulations that contribute to the rising cost of health care.”
“The Republican proposal not only maintains the overall regulatory framework of Obamacare, but also subsidizes that regulatory framework through a new refundable tax credits aimed to help individuals buy their own health care plans – plans that will remain highly regulated and overly expensive,” he wrote.
Republicans have promised to take care of the other issues via the HHS secretary’s repeal of rules and a third step and a new bill which won’t get passed without a nuclear option. A third bill will include such things as selling insurance across state lines to promote competition.
— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) March 21, 2017
Right now, they don’t have the votes, according to HuffPo.
“I moved from a ‘lean no’ to a ‘no’,” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), a former Trump surrogate who said he is worried undocumented immigrants would take advantage of the GOP plan.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a big Trump supporter, is still a “no”.
“They do not have the votes right now,” Meadows said, adding that he doubted his colleagues would get on board if leaders delay the vote.
“I’ve had no indication that any of my Freedom Caucus colleagues have switched their vote,” Meadows said. “I’m not giving numbers. There’s still more than enough to make sure that we need to continue the discussion.”
“I think if we do do this, we lose the majority,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he will not negotiate any further changes.