After Trump Meeting, House Republicans Tout Change to American Health
Care Act

AHCA will speed repeal of Obamacare taxes and give more support to older Americans

President Donald Trump hosts Republican Congressional leaders for lunch on March 1 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
March 21, 2017

House Republicans touted amendments to the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s Obamacare replacement, after their meeting with President Donald Trump today.

"For weeks now, President Trump has gotten directly engaged in negotiating with our members," said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) at a press conference today. "You saw every element of our conference come together and bring those ideas, everybody from Republican Study Committee members, to Tuesday group members, to Freedom Caucus members who came forward, and President Trump brought those ideas together."

"We agreed in the package we put together last night to add all of those elements to the bill, elements that make it even better for families because at the heart of this is the acknowledgment from President Trump to all of us that Obamacare has failed the American people," Scalise said. "I think its important to get back to the reason that we’re doing this, that we are leading a rescue mission to finally let families be in charge of their health care."

On Monday, the House Rules Committee posted two amendments to improve the Republican legislation.

The amendments would repeal Obamacare taxes in 2017, a year earlier than the bill allowed originally. Instead of allowing excess tax credits to be put in Health Savings Accounts, those tax credits would be shifted to older Americans.

"The president has said, let’s see if we can add to the people who are getting assistance who don’t get health care from their job, who are older—maybe in their 50s or their 60s—to make sure they’re in a good place as well," said Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.). "So we’re doing even more assistance there."

Changes to the legislation would also prohibit states from expanding Medicaid but would implement work requirements and would allow them to opt-in a traditional Medicaid block grant.

"At the Budget Committee, there was an effort to say, let’s look at work requirements, let’s look at even more federalism for Medicaid—something very important to conservatives," Ryan said. "There already is a per capita block grant, but some governors are saying, let me just take the whole thing in a block grant—and that’s what a lot of conservatives were asking for as well."

Ryan said the amendments are a result of listening to members and trying to find out where there is some consensus to make improvements as they go through the legislative process.

'The American Health Care Act is the result of a long, member-driven process, and these improvements are an extension of that inclusive approach," Ryan said. "With this amendment, we accelerate tax relief, give states additional options to spend health care dollars how they choose, strengthen what were already substantial pro-life protections, and ensure there are necessary resources to help older Americans and the disabled."

The speaker added, "With the president’s leadership and support for this historic legislation, we are now one step closer to keeping our promise to the American people and ending the Obamacare nightmare."