Ryan: GOP health bill changes will help se­niors

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Mike Debonis

The Repub­li­can health­care plan mov­ing rapidly to­ward a cru­cial House vote this week is likely to be changed to give older Amer­i­cans more as­sis­tance to buy in­sur­ance, Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Sun­day.

“We think that we should be of­fer­ing even more as­sis­tance than what the bill cur­rently does,” Ryan, R-Wis., said in a “Fox News Sun­day” in­ter­view, in which he con­firmed that House lead­ers are eyeing a Thurs­day vote on its pas­sage.

Ryan’s vow to do more to help older Amer­i­cans came af­ter a third House mod­er­ate said Satur­day that he could not sup­port the bill “in its cur­rent form.”

Rep. Brian Fitz­patrick, R-Pa., who rep­re­sents a sub­ur­ban Philadel­phia dis­trict heav­ily tar­geted by Democrats, said in a Face­book post that he was most con­cerned that the leg­is­la­tion would roll back ef­forts to pre­vent and treat opi­oid abuse.

Law­mak­ers from across the GOP’s ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum have ex­pressed fears that the Amer­i­can Health Care Act will not drive down prices. Reps. Ileana Ros-Le­hti­nen, R-Fla., and Leonard Lance, R-N.J., have cited that con­cern in an­nounc­ing their op­po­si­tion to the bill, and sev­eral other mod­er­ates re­main un­de­cided.

Those fears were stoked last week by a Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice anal­y­sis that fore­cast a short-term in­crease in pre­mi­ums un­der the GOP law, and while pre­mi­ums are ex­pected to drop by roughly 10 per­cent over a 10-year hori­zon, some older and low-in­come peo­ple would face mas­sive premium hikes.

Ryan ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the bill would pass the House this week and then move to the Se­nate, where the leg­is­la­tion is fac­ing even sharper doubts and the GOP ma­jor­ity is much nar­rower.

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