The House of Representatives’ Energy & Commerce committee, as well as the Ways and Means Committee, today approved the new “Trumpcare” healthcare legislation, backed by Republicans and Donald Trump, clearing its 1st hurdle to implementation.
The bill was passed by the Ways & Means Committee along party lines this morning after nearly 18 hours of debate. The House Energy and Commerce committee also passed the bill along party after 27 hours of proceedings.
Republicans, who control both House and Senate, are hopeful for mid-April approval of the bill, which would end the penalty for lacking healthcare and repeal a huge number of taxes associated with Obamacare, as well as introduce an age-based tax credit system and overhaul Medicaid.
The bill is facing serious opposition from not only progressives and Democrats, but hardline tea party conservatives and medical associations. Included in the opposition are Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, who called the deal “exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for.”
Conservative groups also opposed the new plan, including Heritage Action for America, the Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners. The Club for Growth described the plan as “RyanCare” and a “warmed-over substitute for government-run healthcare.”
Conservative Republican Rep. Jim Jordan expressed opposition to the new plan, urging for a full repeal of Obamacare. Jordan said he had plans to introduce his own bill to repeal the ACA today.
While US House Speaker Paul Ryan said he believes there exists enough support to pass the bill, while others, such as Senator Roy Blunt, seem to doubt the bill’s ability to clear both the House and Senate.
“I’m going to be very anxious to hear how we get 51 votes and how the House gets 218,” Blunt told reporters.
The American Medical Association also came out against the bill, calling it “Critically Flawed”.
In a letter to congress, the AMA said it outlined provisions in the new bill that would have an adverse impact on patients and the health of the nation, which would be caused due to a large decline in health insurance coverage.
“The AMA supported health system reform legislation in 2010 because it was a significant improvement on the status quo at the time; and although it was imperfect, we continue to embrace its primary goal — making high-quality, affordable health coverage accessible to all Americans. As drafted, the AHCA would result in millions of Americans losing coverage and benefits. By replacing income-based premium subsidies with age-based tax credits, the AHCA will also make coverage more expensive — if not out of reach — for poor and sick Americans. For these reasons, the AMA cannot support the AHCA as it is currently written,” AMA President Dr. Andrew Gurman said in a press release.
In its letter, the AMA said it supported advanceable, refundable tax credits sufficient to cover quality coverage that aren’t tied to age – as the new plan would lay out. The association posed concern at the rollback of Medicaid expansions, and said it could not support provisions that would repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, as well as those that would target Planned Parenthood.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.