GOP nearing completion on new Healthcare bill, but finds support split

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U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said he has been asked by the White House to revive plans to change the nation's health care law. But almost 100 days into his administration, Trump hasn't sent Congress that or any other tax plan.

The House GOP has created an amendment to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a product of ongoing negotiation between House leadership, moderate Republicans, and the conservative members of the Freedom Caucus.

The tax-writing committee of the U.S. House of Representatives will begin holding hearings on a Republican tax reform proposal next week, the panel's chairman said on Tuesday, even as the timeline for overhauling the tax code slips toward late 2017.

A substantial number of other members of the Republican conference have ideological or political objections (or both) to changes that would take away health insurance from many of their constituents, and/or make it hard for people to get health insurance coverage that addresses their actual medical needs.

Members are also discussing providing extra money to help defer states and insurers' costs for caring for the sick through high-risk pools or other mechanisms. Some considered it too moderate, and one issue that appeared to crop up time and again was the President's promise to mandate insurers offer plans to people suffering from pre-existing conditions, a popular Obamacare (or the Affordable Care Act) hold-over provision.

The second part of the deal, which seeks to sway centrist Republicans, keeps some Obamacare regulations in place that have grown in popularity over the years, including the ban on insurers from discriminating against patients with preexisting conditions.

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Half of the ACA insurers said they planned a rate increase of 10 to 20 percent; 25 percent are planning a rate increase of less than 10 percent; and 25 percent plan on an increase greater than 20 percent, according to the Oliver Wyman Health survey.

A revised bill, even if it passed the House, would be a long shot to pass the Senate. The irony there is that the more Republican leadership realizes it will lose conservative votes in its own party, the more it will have to rely on Democrats to avoid a shutdown.

A vote next week-occurring at the same time Congress debates a government spending bill-would give lawmakers little time to read the plan. "So, yeah, I think we'll get both".

But the proposal, which has not been formally introduced, may have trouble winning over more moderate members of the caucus.

The plan "would make coverage unaffordable for many older consumers and would segregate high cost consumers in coverage that would likely be inadequate", says Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee Law School who writes a health policy blog for Health Affairs. "I happen to like and respect [HHS Secretary] Tom Price immensely, but that doesn't mean the next person will share that same approbation from me". It's a key element of a dramatic plan supported by House Republican leaders to overhaul the tax code. The Patriots were the first champions to visit the White House since President Trump took office in January; they defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI in February. "Not necessarily. I unfortunately am in the camp that it's going to get worse before it gets better for 2018", Gurda said.

Behind the scenes, several sources said House Republicans and White House officials have continued working toward a healthcare plan during the first week of recess.

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