Update: Another Palm Beach weekend visitor, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, on where he stands via Twitter:
Update: Even after tweaks to the plan, rumblings of skepticism about the proposed Obamacare replacement effort continued Tuesday from camps including that of recent Mar-a-Lago visitor and Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
“I think Mark Meadows will get there too,” Trump said Tuesday according to The Hill. “Because honestly, a loss is not acceptable, folks.”
“Oh Mark, I’m coming after you,” Trump said, sparking laughter. “I hope Mark will be with us in the end.”
Changes rolled out late Monday reportedly include speeding up the expiration of Obamacare taxes, adjustments to Medicaid, and $150 billion in additional aid to lower-income and older people, including $85 billion in help said to be directed to those between ages 50 and 65. But this still might not address some of the net premium spikes for low-income individuals, a Forbes analysis suggests.
Original post: Speaker Paul Ryan said he plans bring a revamped overhaul of the Affordable Care Act to the House floor on the health law’s seventh anniversary Thursday as some key GOP players met in Palm Beach over the weekend to discuss changes to satisfy critics within the party.
“I think Thursday is most likely going to be our day to bring it forward,” Ryan said on Fox News Sunday.
Ryan confirmed changes under discussion include increasing tax credits for lower-income and older people, allowing states to impose a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients and smoothing the way for states to accept a fixed block grant for Medicaid.
“Yes, those are all things that we are working on,” Ryan said.
Particularly hard hit by the current House plan, The Palm Beach Post reported, would be more than 450,000 Floridians between ages 50 and 64 who stand to lose thousands of dollars annually in government financial assistance to blunt costs, the most of any state, an AARP analysis said.
One of them is author and consultant Chris MacLellan, 60, of Lake Worth. He said he worries he may be priced out of the market completely: “I’m pretty scared about what’s ahead of me.”
A rejiggered plan must find enough support not only in the House but also the Senate to reach the president’s desk.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he met Saturday with President Donald Trump’s team in Palm Beach’s Mar-a-Lago estate, dubbed the southern White House, to make clear he could not vote for the bill as it stands.
“Just yesterday, I spent three hours at Mar-a-Lago” trying to “fix this bill,” Cruz said on CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday. Also present, he said: Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows R-N.C., meeting with the president’s advisers.
Cruz said, “I cannot vote for any bill that keeps premiums rising.”
He referred to a Congressional Budget Office report that forecast rates would rise up to 20 percent on ACA marketplace plans the next two years before falling to about 10 percent below what the original health law would have produced in 2026.
The CBO forecast assumes some healthy people will drop out of ACA marketplace plans because they lose government financial assistance and no longer face a penalty for lacking insurance, driving up rates for those who remain.
By 2026, rates would come in about 10 percent below what they would have been under Obamacare as insurers are allowed to offer skimpier plans and the House bill shifts remaining subsidies to benefit younger and higher-income consumers, the CBO report said.
But the loss of tax credits combined with new provisions that let insurers charge older consumers more could leave some lower-income Americans between 50 and 64 paying about $8,400 more per year, AARP officials said.
Last week Trump said, “If we’re not going to take care of the people, I’m not signing anything. I’m not going to be doing it, just so you understand. I’m in a little way, I’m an arbitrator.”
Ryan said, “We have a president who is rolling up his sleeves, he’s learning — he’s a very quick learner on health care. He’s a business guy who came to the presidency, and now, he’s helping us make sure that would bridge differences with members who are bringing constructive ideas and solutions for how to make this bill better.”
In all, 24 million fewer Americans would likely have insurance in a decade under the House bill compared to Obamacare, the CBO report said. Advocacy groups say that could include more than 1.3 million in Florida. Taxpayers would save about $323 billion.
An advocacy group called on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to “speak up for all of Floridians who are about to lose their health insurance and health care.” Florida Community Health Action Information Network wrote in an open letter that as top Washington officials were taking weekend meetings in Florida “all of a sudden you seem to have lost your voice on what we argue is the most important topic to your constituents.”
Scott did find something to say on Medicaid, designed to care for lower-income residents. The governor sent a letter Friday to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price requesting “greater flexibility from the federal government in running our statewide Medicaid program so we can deliver high-quality care without layers of government bureaucracy.”
Obamacare’s seventh anniversary arrives Thursday. Former president Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010.