J. Denny Weaver: Ryan's health care bill reveals his values

Posted March 20, 2017

A White House official said the plan is for a House floor vote next Thursday - the seven-year anniversary of the Obama law.

At the same time, the Republican plan would shift from tax credits based on income, age and the cost of insurance to those based exclusively on age, with the credits phased out for individuals who make more than $75,000 a year.

Several conservative lawmakers opposed to the House GOP health care bill - Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, and Sens.

The suggestions which appear to have been taken on board by Ryan are reportedly favoured by Conservative Republicans concerned about the bill, but it remains to be seen if these additions will be enough to swing their votes. House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black, R-Tenn., right, joined at left by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., and panel staff member Jim Bates, center, works on the Republican health care bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

"I'm very impressed with how the president is helping us close this bill, making the improvements that we've been making, getting the votes, so we feel very good where we are", he added. However, it is significant to point out what this plan does display about Paul Ryan's values and where his heart is.

Speaking on the "Fox News Sunday" television program, Ryan also said Republicans are working on changes that would allow federal block grants to states for Medicaid.

Yet Mr. Ryan confirmed that negotiators are looking at ways to offer additional help to older Americans whose costs would spike under the bill, since insurers would be able to charge them up to five times what they charge younger adults.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office said the plan in its current form could raise premiums dramatically for older individuals not yet eligible for Medicare. "They're going to repeal part of it and leave in place all of the stuff that causes your insurance rates to go through the roof", Paul said.

"We think we should be offering even more assistance than the bill now does", for lower-income people age 50 to 64, Ryan said of the tax credits for health insurance that are proposed in the legislation.

Some Republican governors are telling their party's congressional leaders that the House GOP health care bill doesn't work for their states.

Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services, said the Trump administration was open to changes to address the effects on older Americans and other concerns.

The speaker previously had called the decision whether to back the bill a binary choice, but on Sunday he said that doesn't apply until the the American Health Care Act hits the floor.

"I can not vote for any bill that keeps premiums rising", Cruz said.

Failing to pass a bill while his party controls both the House and Senate would be a devastating blow to his party and the premise of his presidency - that he was a dealmaker the country needed. "We're for empowering the consumer to drive prices down so you can get better-cost insurance", the Kentucky Republican said.

At a late rally in Nashville Wednesday, President Donald Trump said: "We're going to arbitrate, we're all going to get together, we're going to get something done".