You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Correction: Congress-Health Overhaul story


In a story March 17 about the House Republican health care bill, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., is a freshman from the Hudson River Valley. He is a second-term lawmaker from upstate New York.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Trump OKs changes in GOP health care bill, winning support

President Donald Trump has agreed to add fresh Medicaid curbs to the House Republican health care bill

By ALAN FRAM and ERICA WERNER

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump agreed to add fresh Medicaid curbs to the House Republican health care bill Friday, bolstering the measure with support from some conservative lawmakers but leaving its prospects wobbly. House leaders discussed other amendments calibrated to round up votes and scheduled a showdown vote Thursday.

"I just want to let the world know I am 100 percent in favor" of the measure, Trump said at the White House after meeting around a dozen House lawmakers and shaking hands on revisions. "We're going to have a health care plan that's going to be second to none."

While the rapid-fire events seemed to build momentum for the pivotal GOP legislation, its fate remained clouded. One leading House conservative said the alterations were insufficient and claimed enough allies to sink the measure, and support among moderates remained uncertain.

"My whip count indicates that there are 40 no's," enough to defeat the bill, said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who leads the hard-line House Freedom Caucus. He said the change "doesn't move the ball more than a couple yards on a very long playing field."

Across the Capitol, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., facing re-election next year, became the fourth Republican senator to announce his opposition. That left Senate GOP leaders at least two votes shy of what they'd need to prevail in the chamber, which they control 52-48.

Congressional Democrats remain solidly opposed to the GOP effort.

Thursday will mark the seventh anniversary of when President Barack Obama signed his health overhaul into law, one of his milestone achievements enacted over unanimous GOP opposition. Beyond symbolism, Republican leaders want Congress to complete the measure before an early April recess exposes lawmakers to two weeks of lobbying and town hall pressure tactics by activists, doctors, hospitals and other opponents.

The Republican bill would kill much of Obama's health care law, including tax penalties for people who don't buy insurance and its expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor. It would create new tax credits that would be less generous than current federal subsidies for many consumers, and repeal levies on the wealthy and medical firms that helped finance Obama's expansion of coverage to 20 million Americans.

Trump's deal with lawmakers would let states impose work requirements on some of Medicaid's roughly 60 million recipients. The condition would apply to healthy people with no dependents, a White House official said.

The agreement would let states accept lump-sum federal payments for Medicaid, instead of money that would grow with the number of beneficiaries. The program currently costs the federal government around $370 billion annually and covers costs no matter the amounts.

Also, any additional states that expand Medicaid would not receive the additional federal money Obama's law provided them for doing so. Thirty-one states have enlarged their Medicaid rolls under the law.

"These changes definitely strengthen our numbers," said the House GOP's top vote counter, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. "But they also show that President Trump is all-in now" to help win converts.

Those accepting the agreement included Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., leader of the Republican Study Committee, a large group of House conservatives.

It seemed clear that GOP leaders remained short of the 216 votes they'll need, and additional changes were in the works.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., assured him that the bill's tax credit would be focused more on lower-income people. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., among those who met with Trump, said the president "told his people" to work on changes making the measure more generous for lower-earning and older Americans.

Conservatives seemed unlikely to achieve their demands that the GOP bill's phase-out of Obama's Medicaid expansion — now 2020 — be accelerated to next year and that the credit be denied people with little or no tax liability. Centrists remained wary of yanking constituents from coverage. Many represent states where voters have gained Medicaid and other insurance under the 2010 statute.

GOP Rep. John Katko, from a closely divided district in upstate New York, said late Friday he opposed the measure. He said it would provide inadequate insurance access and cost controls and hurt hospitals.

In a report that weakened GOP support, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said the legislation would leave 24 million people uninsured in a decade and boost out-of-pocket costs for many.

Heller, whose state has expanded Medicaid, joined three fellow GOP senators in opposing the bill: Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah. Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas have voiced strong objections, and Senate moderates don't want to boot constituents off coverage.

___

Associated Press writers Erica Werner, Kevin Freking, Matthew Daly, Jill Colvin and Kenneth Thomas contributed to this report.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

US travel industry fears a 'lost decade' under Trump
US travel industry fears a 'lost decade' under Trump

Like many Washington lobby groups, the U.S. Travel Association was quick to congratulate the new president on his victory last November. "We are encouraged that Mr. Trump's extensive business and hospitality background ... will make him a ready and receptive ear," the trade organization said. Upon the Republican's inauguration, the USTA's...
Which country are Trump officials talking to the most? (It's not Russia)
Which country are Trump officials talking to the most? (It's not Russia)

In its first two months, the Trump administration arguably has spent more time with the Mexican government than with any other. But experts are divided on whether that augurs well or poorly for U.S. relations with a nation that has been on the receiving end of President Donald Trump's harshest and most humiliating rhetorical attacks. "It's better...
Melania Trump: A cipher in sky-high stilettos
Melania Trump: A cipher in sky-high stilettos

The paparazzi no longer stake her out at her son's private school or search for her on the streets surrounding the black tower that her husband, the president of the United States, named for himself. Like legions of New Yorkers who hibernate in their apartments, Melania Trump is a virtual shut-in, her refuge 58 stories above Manhattan's hoi polloi...
Fame, fortune and an itch to run for office
Fame, fortune and an itch to run for office

In Florida, they know John Morgan from his law firm’s colorful personal injury ads and 1-800-number billboards. In New Orleans, Sidney Torres IV became a local celebrity after parlaying his real estate fortune and flashy lifestyle into crime-fighting and a reality TV career. And in Nevada, Stephen J. Cloobeck, the gregarious founder of Diamond...
In health bill’s defeat, Medicaid comes of age
In health bill’s defeat, Medicaid comes of age

When it was created more than a half century ago, Medicaid almost escaped notice. Front-page stories hailed the bigger, more controversial part of the law that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed that July day in 1965 — health insurance for elderly people, or Medicare, which the American Medical Association had bitterly denounced as socialized...
More Stories