GOP Health Bill Clears 2 House Panels After Marathon Sessions
The bill would replace Medicaid’s open-ended entitlement with a per-beneficiary allotment of federal money for low-income people. It would also cut federal payments to states for the expansion of Medicaid — a change that has caused deep concern among governors of both parties and Republican senators from states that expanded Medicaid, like Ohio, Colorado and West Virginia.
Representative Kathy Castor, Democrat of Florida, said: “This is the most radical rewrite to Medicaid that we have seen in decades. The bill will rip coverage away from many of our neighbors.”
Moments before the bill emerged from the Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, said: “The fix is in. Republicans will get the votes. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Democrats stayed here all night and put up a spirited fight.”
Influential groups representing hospitals and nurses came out on Wednesday against the Republican bill, joining doctors and AARP, the association of middle-aged and older Americans, to warn that it would lead to a rise in the uninsured.
In a letter to lawmakers, major hospital groups wrote, “As organizations that take care of every individual who walks through our doors, both due to our mission and our obligations under federal law, we are committed to ensuring health care coverage is available and affordable for all.”
The groups, including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the Children’s Hospital Association, said they could not support the bill “as currently written.”
The hospitals and the American Nurses Association joined the American Medical Association and AARP, which rejected the bill on Tuesday.
House Republicans have been left scrambling to marshal support from businesses and other interests that stand to benefit from lower taxes if the bill passes. Insurers are on the fence, and other powerful forces like pharmaceutical companies remain largely on the sidelines.
Squeezed between wary health care providers and angry conservatives who say they believe that the bill leaves too much of the Affordable Care Act in place, the Republican leadership and President Trump appear to be facing an uphill climb.
Senators from both parties continued to lodge their opposition. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a conservative Republican who has largely stuck with leadership, took to Twitter on Thursday morning to voice his concerns.