House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted that the GOP health care replacement bill has to change in order for it to pass the House. The Congressional Budget Office scored the legislation and found that premiums wouldn’t be curbed, and that over 20 million people would be without insurance by 2020. That prompted moderate Republicans to start pulling support. Conservatives already didn’t like it, describing it as Obamacare lite. The most expensive portion, Medicaid expansion, was left intact. To make the bill more palatable, the Republican Study Committee offered two amendments that would add work requirements and cap new Medicaid enrollment by 2018. Yet, that proved to be another obstacle for moderate GOP lawmakers. Democrats are unified against it. Right now, this bill is on life support, despite Ryan being confident that he would get 218 votes to pass this legislation.
In the Senate, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stating that Medicaid expansion has to remain untouched for their support. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) warned his House colleagues that voting on a bill that has no shot in the Senate could nuke the Republican majority. As conservatives stormed Congress to remind Republicans what they promised concerning Obamacare yesterday, I’m sure they’d be a little happier about this development from the speaker. It looks like it’s no longer a binary choice, though Ryan wouldn’t discuss the details of what's going to be changed in the bill (via WaPo):
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Wednesday that his health-care proposal must change to pass the House, marking a significant retreat from his earlier position that the carefully crafted legislation would fail if altered.
The shift came after a private meeting of House Republicans from which Ryan (R-Wis.) emerged to tell reporters that his proposal to revise the Affordable Care Act would “incorporate feedback” from the rank-and-file. Ryan attributed the change of strategy to the effect of an analysis issued Monday by the Congressional Budget Office. Among other details prompting a fresh round of criticism of the proposal was a projection that 14 million fewer Americans would be insured after one year under the Republican plan.
Ryan backed away Wednesday from his previous rhetoric of calling the measure’s fate a “binary choice” for Republican lawmakers.
“Now that we have our score . . . we can make some necessary improvements and refinements to the bill,” he said, referring to the CBO’s estimate of the effect on the number of those covered by health insurance and what the GOP proposal would cost.
Ryan did not detail what changes are under consideration.