Changes lie ahead for House health care bill

As he has said since introducing the bill earlier this month, Ryan expressed confidence Sunday about having the requisite 218 votes in the GOP-controlled House to send the bill to the GOP-controlled Senate.

He repeatedly lauded President Trump's effort to garner support among congressional Republicans.

"Millions were forced to go under Obamacare because their premiums went too high and/or they lost their coverage entirely", the congressman said in an email to The Daily Times.

"Please contact your Congressman ... and tell him to join you in supporting President Trump and Speaker Ryan's plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the American Health Care Act", the calls state. Republicans need at least 19 of them to vote yes in order for the measure to pass.

In a Facebook post Saturday night, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., said he couldn't vote for the bill, stressing a need "to take our time and to get this right".

He also said that the Republican bill represents a "first step" and that additional measures can be expected down the road. He joins GOP Rep. John Katko, from a closely divided district in upstate NY, who cited inadequate insurance access and cost controls.

Particularly troubling to more centrist Republicans is the Congressional Budget Office's prediction last week that the House legislation would lead to some 24 million more people being uninsured by 2026 than under Obamacare, as well as the projection that premiums would spike for vulnerable demographic groups like older and low-income Americans.

"The current House bill, as drafted, I do not believe it would pass the Senate", Sen.

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Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., for example, has declined to offer an assessment before the House votes.

Ryan at one point said that his party faced the "binary choice" of backing the GOP replacement plan that he and his lieutenants crafted or sticking with an Obamacare health insurance system that was fast collapsing of its own weight and driving up premiums for millions of Americans.

Thursday will mark the seventh anniversary of when President Barack Obama signed his health overhaul into law, one of his milestone achievements enacted over unanimous GOP opposition.

Ryan said Congress was proud to have passed the Cures Act previous year, which calls for additional NIH money for "breakthrough discoveries on cancer and other diseases", so he expects the proposed NIH cut to be revised.

Critics say it would make health insurance more expensive for individuals, especially older adults and those with modest incomes. If the changes are significant enough to make inroads with one faction, they may well be significant enough to enable the other faction to pick up new defectors.

"I promise you in a year, the insurance markets will still be unraveling".

"We'll see what comes out and what comes over to the Senate", Fischer said.

Ryan spoke on "Fox News Sunday", Price appeared on ABC's "This Week", Collins was on NBC's "Meet the Press" and Cruz spoke on CBS' "Face the Nation".

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