The GOP-backed Trumpcare bill today won approval today from the US House of Representatives Budget Committee, despite losing support from 3 conservatives.
The plan cleared the Committee with a 19 to 17 vote, with David Brat (R-Va), Gary Palmer (R-Al) and Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) voting against, joined by the panel’s Democrats.
The approval came as the White House and Republican leaders have opened discussion to changing the bill to satisfy conservative opposition. Some conservatives oppose the bill because it shares too many similarities with the Affordable Care Act.
“I don’t think we are anywhere near passage,” Brat said after the bill was approved by the Committee
The measure will now move on to the House Rules Committee before making its way to the House Floor. The legislation was approved by the Energy & Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means committee last Thursday.
On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released data on the effects of the Trumpcare bill, estimating it would cause 14 million individuals to lose healthcare next year, with 24 million losing coverage by 2026. The bill would also cut $337 billion from the federal budget deficits over 9 years, the CBO said.
Average premiums for individuals buying insurance on their own would increase 15% to 20% in 2018 and 2019 compared to the current ACA law, according to the budget office, but would be lower by approximately 10% by 2026.
The plan would also immediately remove the penalty for people who do not have health insurance and halt the expansion of Medicaid at the beginning of 2020, capping funding for the federal healthcare program for the poor. It would preserve a pair of popular Obamacare features: Allowing children to remain on family health plans until age 26 and barring insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The newly inked plan would abolish subsidies for purchasing healthcare, instead creating age-based tax credits that could be used to buy health insurance; the credits would be capped for people with higher incomes. And it would direct $100 billion to the states for programs aimed at certain populations, such as high-risk pools of the sickest patients.
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.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.