2019-10-19 04:12:09 UTC
President Donald Trump on Tuesday endorsed Republican
legislation to replace the Obamacare healthcare law but the
measure faced a rebellion by conservative groups and lawmakers,
complicating its chances for passage in the U.S. Congress.
Republican U.S. House of Representatives leaders on Monday
unveiled legislation to do away with Obamacare, eliminating the
requirement that most Americans obtain medical insurance and
creating a system of tax credits to coax people to purchase
private insurance on the open market.
House Republicans: 'This is Obamacare gone' (Reuters)
Speaker Paul Ryan said he could guarantee that he had enough
votes to win passage of the measure in the House, adding that
conservatives should be excited about the plan to repeal and
replace Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature
domestic policy achievement.
But conservatives slammed the proposal, with Republican Senator
Mike Lee calling it "exactly the type of back-room dealing and
rushed process that we criticized Democrats for."
Trump said the plan was open to negotiation, but said it had
already earned support "from everybody." Vice President Mike
Pence described it as a "framework," signaling the measure was
far from its final form. Health and Human Services Secretary
Tom Price called it "a work in progress."
The proposal represented a key step toward carrying out pledges
by Trump and congressional Republicans to dismantle Obamacare.
But lawmakers face pressure from constituents not to throw
America's healthcare system into chaos. Democrats denounced the
proposal as taking away health insurance from millions of
Americans and benefiting the rich.
Some conservative Republicans complained the bill did not go
far enough in removing government from the healthcare industry.
In the Senate, where Republicans can afford to lose only two
votes from their razor-thin majority, Republican Senator Rand
Paul called the plan "Obamacare Lite" and said he wanted a
Trump, in an evening Twitter message, said he was "sure" Paul
would "come along with the new and great healthcare program
because he knows Obamacare is a disaster!"
Conservative groups including Heritage Action for America, the
Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners,
backed by the billionaire Republican donor Koch brothers, urged
its defeat for different reasons.
The Club for Growth derided it as "RyanCare" and a "warmed-over
substitute for government-run healthcare."
"We think you have to get rid of Obamacare completely," said
conservative Republican Representative Jim Jordan, who
announced plans to introduce his own bill to repeal Obamacare
on Wednesday, the same day that House committees begin debating
and considering amendments on the Republican plan.
Conservative opponents said the legislation maintains some
Obamacare regulations and mandates that have caused rising
insurance prices, creates a new entitlement in the form of tax
credits and fails to embrace free-market ideals.
Instead of current income-based subsidies to buy a plan, the
plan proposes tax credits, which would range from $2,000 to
The 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare and passed by
Democrats over unified Republican opposition, is popular in
many states, even some controlled by Republicans. It has
brought medical coverage to about 20 million previously
Democrats and some moderate Republicans said the new House
measure would hit lower-income Americans by rolling back the
expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program for the
Although Republicans control both Congress and the White House,
the future remains uncertain for the plan. It must win approval
in the House and the Senate before it could go to Trump for his
"ANXIOUS" ON GETTING ENOUGH VOTES
Trump said earlier on Twitter that the healthcare bill was "now
out for review and negotiation." In a later meeting with
Republican lawmakers, he said, "I really believe we're going to
have tremendous support."
Trump, who has previously called for lower drug prices, also
said on Twitter he was "working on a new system where there
will be competition in the Drug Industry. Pricing for the
American people will come way down!" He gave no details. His
comment sent shares of drugmakers lower.
White House Office of Budget and Management Director Mick
Mulvaney said the plan should pass the House before lawmakers
break in mid-April.
During a White House briefing, Price sidestepped questions on
whether he could guarantee the plan would not result in
millions of Americans losing health insurance or whether the
administration supported everything in it.
Price said the drug-pricing initiative would occur in future
phases of healthcare action. Trump said on Twitter there would
be additional action to allow people to buy health insurance
across state lines.
Senator Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Republican
leadership, appeared to question whether there were enough
votes in Congress for passage.
"I'm going to be very anxious to hear how we get to 51 votes
and how the House gets to 218," Blunt told reporters, referring
to the minimum number of votes needed for passage in the two
Shares in hospitals, whose government reimbursements would be
impacted by changes in federal reimbursement for Medicaid,
fell, with Tenet Healthcare Corp off 7 percent and Community
Health Systems down 9 percent.
Investors, insurers and hospitals expressed concern that the
planned tax credits and the draft legislation did not do enough
to make health insurance affordable.
Under the bill, Obamacare's income-based and location-based tax
credits would be replaced by fixed tax credits, which could put
plans out of reach for consumers in certain states and result
in lower enrollment, some industry sources said.
The BlueCross BlueShield Association, which represents Anthem
Inc, the biggest player in the individual Obamacare markets
this year, emphasized the need for affordable insurance.
To keep prices down, Republicans will need the buy-in from
Anthem and other insurers, particularly after UnitedHealth
Group Inc, Aetna Inc and Humana Inc exited most of the states
where they sold individual insurance plans under Obamacare.
Mulvaney said he expected the nonpartisan Congressional Budget
Office's review of the bill in a few days. Congress's
nonpartisan tax analysis unit, the Joint Committee on Taxation,
estimated repealing Obamacare's taxes alone will cost almost
$700 billion through 2027.
Off topic in aus.politics FOAD wanker