GOP Obamacare Replacement Bill Debate Continues in the House
Friday, March 17, 2017
Posted by: Kate Bauer
The White House said Tuesday the administration is talking to House lawmakers about possible changes to the GOP Obamacare replacement bill in a last-minute bid to win the support of reluctant House conservatives. The possible changes risk losing the support of party moderates, but House Speaker Paul Ryan so far is resisting any significant revisions.
Ryan faces a narrow path for getting the controversial measure through the House. That leaves President Donald Trump with a decision to make about whether to wade into the policy debate or let GOP leaders try to sort it out on their own.
The legislation has passed out of several House Committees – Ways and Means Committee, Energy and Commerce and the Budget Committee. Despite the swift action and near unanimous Republican support in Committees, significant opposition has emerged from conservative think tanks, major medical interest groups and from within the GOP.
Four Senators – Portman (OH), Moore Capito (WV), Gardner (CO), and Murkowski (AK) – have all vowed to vote against any elimination of Medicaid expansion. Senators Lee (UT) and Paul (KY) have indicated that the bill is all but dead on arrival. Conservative think tanks, CATO and Heritage Action, have expressed their opposition. Also, a trio of major health care interests, including the American Medical Association, AARP and the American Hospital Association, all indicated that they cannot support the bill in its current form.
House Republican leaders had hoped to pass their repeal measure in the full House as early as next week and send it to the Senate, where it’s facing even stronger skepticism from Republicans. But it’s unclear whether they have enough votes to pass it in the House, with several conservatives and moderates announcing they can’t back it in its current form.