GOP leaders postpone House vote on AHCA

Lacking enough support from within their own party, Republican leaders in the House today postponed an anticipated vote on legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system. Republicans could vote on it Friday, according to reports.

The postponement came amid opposition from some Republicans regarding the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the expectation that no House Democrats would vote in its favor.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald J. Trump spent part of the day meeting with over 30 members of the Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of Republicans who favor a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and say the AHCA does not go far enough.

Trump campaigned on repealing and replacing the ACA, President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation, and has pushed hard for a replacement. The AHCA has been criticized as a tax cut for the wealthy that will result in less coverage for Americans. It has faced strong opposition from numerous medical organizations, including the ACP, AMA, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and 100 HIV/AIDS groups.

In a recent statement, however, Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) was optimistic that the AHCA will improve health care coverage.

“Our legislation includes ideas from Republican members who are committed to improving health care for patients and families across the country,” he said in the statement before the postponement took place. “We’re confident these changes will set AHCA up for success in the House. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to get this bill over the finish line and send it to the President as quickly as possible.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) postponed his weekly Thursday news conference twice as unofficial tallies placed Republicans short of the number of votes needed to pass the legislation.

Credit: Shutterstock.com
House Republicans postponed a scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act.
Source: Shutterstock.com

In addition to the Freedom Caucus, Republican opposition is also coming from the Tuesday Group, a bloc of moderate House members who oppose the AHCA on other grounds.

Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said his group was still committed to getting the AHCA passed.

“This artificial deadline is something we imposed on ourselves,” Meadows said. “Do I think it gives the president a loss? Absolutely not. We are going to get to the finish line.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the bill would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion in the next 10 years but increase the number of uninsured by 24 million, going against Trump’s stated goal of “insurance for everybody.”

Despite Trump’s pledge during his campaign not to cut Medicaid, the AHCA would slash $880 billion in federal funding for the program, leading to 14 million more uninsured people by 2018, according to the CBO.

“It's clear why [Ryan] delayed the vote: His own caucus can't stomach it now that this scheme to decimate Medicaid has been exposed,” Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) tweeted.

Opponents have criticized the AHCA as essentially a tax break for the wealthy because it would eliminate the levies against higher-income Americans and health insurers that helped pay for the ACA. The CBO also estimated that it would substantially increase premiums for older Americans while reducing premiums for younger people.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was Speaker of the House when Obama signed the ACA into law on March 23, 2010, categorized Republicans as overeager and possibly “mean-spirited” for scheduling the AHCA vote on the seventh anniversary of that day.

“Rookie’s error, Donald Trump,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference. “You may be a great negotiator [but] rookie’s error to bring this up on a day when you’re not ready.”

Obama released a statement marking the anniversary, saying his signature health care legislation led to 20 million uninsured people gaining coverage.

“Thanks to this law, more than 90% of Americans are insured — the highest rate in our history,” he said. – by Gerard Gallagher

Lacking enough support from within their own party, Republican leaders in the House today postponed an anticipated vote on legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system. Republicans could vote on it Friday, according to reports.

The postponement came amid opposition from some Republicans regarding the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the expectation that no House Democrats would vote in its favor.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald J. Trump spent part of the day meeting with over 30 members of the Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of Republicans who favor a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and say the AHCA does not go far enough.

Trump campaigned on repealing and replacing the ACA, President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation, and has pushed hard for a replacement. The AHCA has been criticized as a tax cut for the wealthy that will result in less coverage for Americans. It has faced strong opposition from numerous medical organizations, including the ACP, AMA, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and 100 HIV/AIDS groups.

In a recent statement, however, Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) was optimistic that the AHCA will improve health care coverage.

“Our legislation includes ideas from Republican members who are committed to improving health care for patients and families across the country,” he said in the statement before the postponement took place. “We’re confident these changes will set AHCA up for success in the House. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to get this bill over the finish line and send it to the President as quickly as possible.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) postponed his weekly Thursday news conference twice as unofficial tallies placed Republicans short of the number of votes needed to pass the legislation.

Credit: Shutterstock.com
House Republicans postponed a scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act.
Source: Shutterstock.com

In addition to the Freedom Caucus, Republican opposition is also coming from the Tuesday Group, a bloc of moderate House members who oppose the AHCA on other grounds.

Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said his group was still committed to getting the AHCA passed.

“This artificial deadline is something we imposed on ourselves,” Meadows said. “Do I think it gives the president a loss? Absolutely not. We are going to get to the finish line.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the bill would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion in the next 10 years but increase the number of uninsured by 24 million, going against Trump’s stated goal of “insurance for everybody.”

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Despite Trump’s pledge during his campaign not to cut Medicaid, the AHCA would slash $880 billion in federal funding for the program, leading to 14 million more uninsured people by 2018, according to the CBO.

“It's clear why [Ryan] delayed the vote: His own caucus can't stomach it now that this scheme to decimate Medicaid has been exposed,” Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) tweeted.

Opponents have criticized the AHCA as essentially a tax break for the wealthy because it would eliminate the levies against higher-income Americans and health insurers that helped pay for the ACA. The CBO also estimated that it would substantially increase premiums for older Americans while reducing premiums for younger people.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was Speaker of the House when Obama signed the ACA into law on March 23, 2010, categorized Republicans as overeager and possibly “mean-spirited” for scheduling the AHCA vote on the seventh anniversary of that day.

“Rookie’s error, Donald Trump,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference. “You may be a great negotiator [but] rookie’s error to bring this up on a day when you’re not ready.”

Obama released a statement marking the anniversary, saying his signature health care legislation led to 20 million uninsured people gaining coverage.

“Thanks to this law, more than 90% of Americans are insured — the highest rate in our history,” he said. – by Gerard Gallagher

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