Paul Ryan talks a big game on getting health bill passed

Cheryl Sanders
March 19, 2017

But the GOP healthcare plan has faced strong resistance from conservative lawmakers, some of whom have dubbed the proposal "ObamaCare lite".

"If Republicans hold a big press conference and pat ourselves on the back that we've repealed Obamacare and everyone's premiums keep going up, people will be ready to tar and feather us on the streets and quite rightly", Cruz said.

Republicans - including President Trump and Vice President Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PenceRepublicans pitch healthcare plan ahead of key vote Pence ally part owner of conservative news outlet: report Merkel's visit could salvage some sort of US-EU trade deal MORE - have been making pitches for the GOP's healthcare plan.

The far-right House Freedom Caucus is still formally opposed to the bill, and made their stance clear in a tweet Friday.

Today Ryan insisted that he always had been open to changes to his bill and that his members will finally face that "binary choice" on Thursday when the legislation and a package of "manager's amendments" are brought to the House floor for a vote.

"I can not vote for any bill that keeps premiums rising", Cruz said, echoing the concerns of other hard-line lawmakers who want the legislation to undo more of the Affordable Care Act's insurance mandates.

More moderate Republicans also have issues with the bill. Those amendments include imposing a work requirement on many able-bodied adult Medicaid beneficiaries, retooling the plan's refundable tax credit subsidies to provide greater assistance to older and low-income people, and granting states the option of receiving federal Medicaid funding in the future through a block grant program giving them more flexibility in how they spend the money and determine eligibility rules.

Meanwhile, a key conservative senator said White House officials were continuing to negotiate through the weekend on even more dramatic revisions to the bill in hopes of winning over hard-liners who have threatened to tank the legislation.

"It's coming together beautifully", Trump said.

Senator Tom Cotton, a conservative Arkansas Republican, said that the bill would not reduce premiums for people on the private insurance market.

"I feel very good about it, actually", Ryan said of having the necessary votes Thursday. "We're making fine-tuning improvements to the bill to reflect people's concerns, to reflect peoples' improvements". "None of us ran on this plan".

When the draft of the health care bill was released earlier this month, the BlueCross BlueShield Association, which represents BCBS insurers that cover the vast majority of the about 10 million people enrolled in 2017 Obamacare plans, emphasized the need for the replacement to be affordable.

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