Budget office finds GOP plan is not 'terrific'

Michael Doyle
March 18, 2017

The House bill would repeal major elements of former President Barack Obama's 2010 law. "We now have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country, and looking at this we have concerns this will march us back", Mary Kate Mohlman, Vermont director of Health Care Reform, told reporters. He said he believes they have not agreed to quickly phase out an expansion of Medicaid, another conservative demand. GOP divisions also threaten the legislation in that chamber. None on that list was in the White House meeting.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of some of the most fiscally conservative representatives, assert that the legislation doesn't go far enough in gutting Obamacare and vehemently oppose provisions such as the refundable tax credits. "It will close up very, very soon if something isn't done", he said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price attacked the CBO (even though he helped pick its director, Keith Hall), the speaker embraced it, Senate Republicans used it to call for changing course, and President Trump himself has largely stayed quiet.

Republican leaders say their proposal is created to fix many aspects of what they call the failure of Obamacare, including escalating premiums and deductibles, and fewer insurance plans from which to choose. All it took for those members was a little face time with the president and some cosmetic tweaks to the legislation, which Trump backed.

It was unclear what transpired in the White House meeting to bring concerned conservatives on board, but Trump signaled that they discussed alterations to the legislation.

Other conservatives from the House Freedom Caucus, like Rep. Mark Meadows, were not satisfied with the agreement, although Republicans can afford to lose 21 votes from within their conference before the bill is killed. "But it's not the right thing to do for the people", he said.

"The insurance companies have left, and the other half has one insurance company and that will probably be bailing out pretty soon also".

Critics say it would make health insurance more expensive for individuals, especially older adults and those with modest incomes. But there's this caveat: It's only good news if any revised plan they craft reverses the original plan's heartless attempt to deny health care to as many as 24 million Americans over the next decade - with 14 million losing coverage in the first year. "I do not support the House bill in its current form".

Nonetheless, experts said the report undercuts Republican claims that the health law's insurance markets are teetering toward collapse, which they say makes repealing the law crucial. Collins' opposition leaves the bill short of the support it needs in the Senate unless it changes, since GOP leaders can only lose two votes.

In another warning signal, four GOP governors wrote congressional leaders Thursday saying the bill's approach to Medicaid would not work for states. Or the CBO, one of the most trusted agencies of the federal government, though of course it is not infallible? Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health studied mortality rate changes in MA after the rollout of the state's health insurance platform in 2006. The letter was sent by Nevada's Sandoval, as well as Ohio's John Kasich, Michigan's Rick Snyder and Arkansas's Asa Hutchinson.

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