03/15/17

Obamacare Replacement Plan Faces Key Test in Budget Committee

The Obamacare replacement plan offered by congressional Republicans will face its biggest test yet when the House Budget Committee gathers Thursday to review the bill.

The 36-member panel will meet to vote on the proposal, called the American Health Care Act.

At least three conservative lawmakers who have spoken out against the legislation hold seats on the committee, however. Of the 22 Republicans on the panel, just four need to join Democrats in opposing the Obamacare replacement plan for it to fail.

The committee’s roster, plus the release Monday of the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the plan, only further call into question the future of the proposal from House Republican leadership.

CBO, a nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, found that under the bill, 24 million Americans would be uninsured by 2026 and premiums would rise 15 percent to 20 percent over the next two years before dropping by 10 percent in 2026, depending on a person’s age.

Thus far, the loudest voices speaking out against the Obamacare replacement plan belong to members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 40 conservative lawmakers. They hope to negotiate with President Donald Trump, who backs the bill.

Three members of the Freedom Caucus serve on the Budget Committee: Reps. Dave Brat of Virginia, Gary Palmer of Alabama, and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

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