Some conservatives have criticized the plan as being too similar to the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. When the CBO dropped a report that Republicans had already anticipated would forecast lower coverage rates and higher costs for some Americans, the reaction from the White House and key players in Congress was completely scattershot. He would not say what changes the administration was working on.
The overall effect: Americans approaching Medicare coverage at age 65 would pay more and younger Americans less, the CBO says. Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released this week found the bill would reduce the deficit by $33 billion. The new budget report makes it clear this reform plan isn't the way to go.
Though Pence met repeatedly Wednesday with House Republicans, his impact remained unclear and GOP rebels still abounded. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, said it's important to get the legislation passed before Congress leaves for a two-week spring recess next month.
However, he noted that the bill will have to change before it passes the House and goes on to a Senate vote. The urgency here comes not from the tenets of the bill itself but from a much bigger problem: Obamacare is floundering and risks collapse.
Although the Republican bill would also provide tax credits, they would not be created to keep pace with rising premiums. Better yet, they should look for ways to retain and fix the current law.
McCarthy warned lawmakers that "late votes in the House are likely Thursday" and members should adjust their schedules, suggesting that the major healthcare votes will be held that day. That won't and shouldn't happen.
The House will vote on repealing Obamacare next Thursday, GOP leadership sources tell the Daily News, a sign that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) believes he has enough votes to pass the hotly contested legislation as President Trump amps up his support for the bill.
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"America suffers in the end, because we will still have elements of Obamacare that people don't like", Duncan said.
So the next chapter begins: What might an improved bill include? But an insurer could charge them a lot more once they did seek to buy coverage.
It eliminates some of Obamacare's requirements for services health plans need to cover and sunsets an expansion of Medicaid over several years, an element causing great consternation with moderate-leaning Republicans but one that conservatives want to move up faster - including Duncan.
But remember that if Washington fiddles, Obamacare may burn.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC said of the pushback of fellow Republicans against the CBO forecast: "We like the CBO when they agree with us". "This is the moment".
Cohn also disputed the notion that millions of people on Medicaid, the government health care system for the poor, would become uninsured as Obamacare's expansion of the program is rolled back over a period of years.
Attacking the CBO now will only strengthen the argument that President Trump and his backers on Capitol Hill live in a world of alternative facts and relative truths. It won't. Time for Republican leaders to respond and retool.