Fri | Feb 23, 2018

Republican leaders scramble to shore up support for health bill

Published:Wednesday | March 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The White House and Republican leaders in Congress scrambled yesterday to shore up support for their health care bill as critics went on the attack over new estimates that 14 million people would lose insurance coverage in the first year alone.

The findings from the Congressional Budget Office handed fresh ammunition to Democratic opponents of the GOP drive to repeal and replace former United States President Barack Obama's health care law. The new figures, which estimated that 24 million people would lose insurance over a decade, also appeared to strengthen pockets of conservative resistance to the bill and rattle nerves among rank-and-file Republicans.




With Washington blanketed in a rare March snow, congressional GOP leaders and top aides to President Donald Trump got to work trying to salvage the legislation, which they hope to push through the House next week and the Senate the week after that. Trump has promised to sign the bill, fulfilling seven years of GOP promises to undo 'Obamacare', even though the legislation breaks the president's own past promises to safeguard Medicaid and provide health insurance for all.

The GOP legislation would use tax credits to help consumers buy health coverage, expand health savings accounts, phase out an expansion of Medicaid and cap that programme for the future, end some requirements for health plans under Obama's law, and scrap a number of taxes.

Republicans say they are not trying to achieve the widespread coverage that Democrats aimed for by including penalties in the Affordable Care Act for people who weren't covered. Instead Republicans would eliminate that mandate, and their buzzword is "access" to affordable coverage for people who want it.