House leaving town with GOP health care bill in shambles

2017-04-06 21:20
House Speaker Paul Ryan. (AP)

House Speaker Paul Ryan. (AP)

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Washington - House members headed home for a two-week recess on Thursday with the Republican health care bill still in shambles. GOP leaders announced a modest amendment to curb some premium increases, but the party still faced sharp divisions over how to achieve their promise of repealing former President Barack Obama's law.

Flanked by around two dozen Republican lawmakers, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced the revision to the GOP bill and touted its support from conservatives and moderates.

"This brings us closer to the final agreement that we all want to achieve," Ryan told reporters.

But Ryan conceded that "we have more work to do". Other lawmakers not at the news conference who have expressed opposition to the overall GOP bill said the new amendment seemed unlikely to resolve their concerns.

"I favour making sure no one is denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. So I doubt this would be enough," said Leonard Lance, a moderate who has opposed the Republican legislation.

David Schweikert, a sponsor of the amendment, said it was aimed at containing premiums by providing an additional $15bn over a decade to help insurers cover the costs of seriously ill people. Such customers' expensive care can drive up premiums for all consumers.

The money would be on top of a $100bn fund already in the GOP bill that states could use for a variety of purposes, including high-risk insurance pools where people with medical problems can get coverage.

Two weeks ago, Ryan was forced to call off a floor vote on a GOP measure to repeal much of Obama's 2010 health care overhaul.

The GOP legislation replacing it would have scaled back the federal role in health care, covering 24 million fewer people over time, while also cutting taxes for upper-income earners.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us

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