Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

Ryan Looks to Thursday Health Care Vote With More Elder Pay Help

Ryan Looks to Thursday Health Care Vote With More Elder Pay Help

Ryan on Sunday said he felt "very good" that the House would pass the Republicans' healthcare bill, even as changes were being made to lure votes, such as providing more assistance for older Americans.

While proponents say the GOP plan would eventually provide Americans with access to less expensive, more patient and doctor-centric coverage, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that 24 million people would lose voluntarily decline coverage under that approach by 2026 and that the replacement coverage would be more expensive in the short run - especially for older and low-income people.

"We feel like we're on track and we're right where we want to be", Ryan said on Fox News Sunday. Last Wednesday, Ryan announced that his beleaguered bill would need to undergo some changes and "incorporate feedback" from his members ahead of its vote on the House floor this Thursday. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick said in a Facebook post Saturday night that while he believes the Affordable Care Act is "broken", he wouldn't vote for the Republican bill in its current form, citing its impact on the "single most important issue plaguing" his constituents, "opioid abuse prevention, treatment and recovery".

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said he and two other conservative leaders - Sen.

Senator Tom Cotton, a conservative Arkansas Republican, said that the bill would not reduce premiums for people on the private insurance market.

The plan has been flatly rejected by Democrats, while moderate Republicans fear it doesn't do enough to help vulnerable populations, while conservatives argue it doesn't go far enough to undo government intrusion into healthcare.

But the GOP healthcare plan has faced strong resistance from conservative lawmakers, some of whom have dubbed the proposal "ObamaCare lite".

"We are making fine-tuning improvements to the bill to reflect people's concerns, to reflect people's improvements", he said.

Ryan said he's also impressed with how President Trump is helping the GOP to "close this bill".

He emphasized that until the bill is on the floor for a vote, "we are always making improvements".

"We're still having conversations with our members", Ryan said. But it does not rise and fall, like the ACA's subsidies, so a person pays only a fixed percentage of their income on their health insurance premiums.

But Ryan expressed confidence that the bill would pass the House this week - and then move to the Senate, where the legislation is facing even sharper doubts and the GOP majority is much narrower.

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