Wicker: GOP Obamacare Alternative Must Mind Those Currently Covered

The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said a GOP alternative to the Affordable Care Act must be mindful of those who currently have coverage through the law.

“Clearly we don’t want to do any harm to people in the system now,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said at a Wednesday news conference at the Republican National Committee. “We want to be mindful.”

Roughly 20 million people have gained health coverage under the law, a fact that complicates Republicans steps to crafting alternative legislation. It will be difficult politically for Republicans to pass a measure that does not offer a way for those people to maintain coverage, said Cynthia Cox, an associate director at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Most of those people have gained coverage because they live in one of the 31 states or D.C. that have opted to expand Medicaid. Others, for example, may have been unable to purchase health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

While President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t offered many details about how he would seek to cover that number of individuals, House Republicans have proposed offering tax credits to help people afford coverage on the private market while also barring insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.


Washington Brief: Gorsuch Stresses Independence From Trump; Schumer Calls for Delaying Confirmation Vote

On his second day of confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch stressed his independence from President Donald Trump. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Gorsuch’s confirmation vote should be delayed because of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe of alleged ties between the Russian government and Trump’s presidential campaign.

Health Brief: GOP Announces Changes to Health Care Bill

House GOP leaders made tweaks to their Obamacare replacement legislation aimed at bolstering Republican support, but many skeptical conservatives remain opposed to the plan. The changes include giving states more flexibility with their Medicaid programs, phasing out Obamacare taxes sooner and increasing tax credits to help older Americans afford health insurance.

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