Trump, Pence and Ryan Scramble for Support, but the Numbers Aren’t Going Their Way
Trumpcare, or Obamacare lite, as some Republicans derisively dubbed it, is proving to be a tough sell in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, where members campaigned for years on scrapping the Affordable Care Act.
With a vote scheduled for today, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence worked Wednesday to try to get the 216 votes needed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the American Health Care Act, a plan where the best scenario leaves 24 million Americans without insurance. By CNN’s tally, 24 Republicans “have flat-out said they will vote against the bill,” and four were leaning against it as of early this morning. If those numbers hold and Democrats remain firm in their opposition, the repeal bill will be defeated.
“This bill isn’t going to pass,” former Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday at a rally in Washington.
Charles and David Koch, the ultraconservative megadonors, plan to create a fund to support Republicans in the 2018 races that vote against the GOP health plan. They think the bill doesn’t do enough to tank the Affordable Care Act.
The Republican bill, written largely by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would roll back Medicaid expansion, reducing the deficit by $337 billion largely by cuts to the federal insurance program for the poor and the disabled. The bill would get rid of the requirement that everyone have insurance.
The GOP bill would change the way the subsidies for insurance are calculated. Older people could be charged five times more than the young. The rich, those making $200,000 or more, would get tax cuts.
That wasn’t enough to get the votes of the most conservative of Republicans, the Freedom Caucus.
So by Wednesday evening, Trump had reportedly agreed to look at jettisoning what insurers are required to cover, benefits such as emergency room trips, maternity and newborn care, and mental health care.
Proponents of insurance that won’t cover benefits such as delivering babies or caring for their mothers say this will lower the price tag for insurance.
“We are continuing to move forward and adding new supporters constantly,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
Some moderate Republicans were having difficulty stomaching what Trumpcare will do to their constituents.
“Many South Jersey residents would be left with financial hardship or without the coverage they now receive,” Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) told The New York Times.
The GOP bill preserves some of the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act such as protections for people with pre-existing conditions and letting children stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26.
Today is the seventh anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law.