The Republican health-care plan narrowly advanced out of the House Budget Committee on Thursday, with three conservative Republicans voting no, but it also hit some new turbulence. Four Republican governors wrote congressional leaders saying the bill would harm their states, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said it "is not a bill I could support in its current form." Including Collins, three senators now say they won't back the bill, leaving it short of the votes it needs to pass. Republicans are turning to President Trump to whip up support, The Associated Press reports, but Trump is suggesting this bill is just an early draft.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the architect of the bill, put on a happy face Thursday, telling reporters, "We feel like we're making great strides and great progress on getting a bill that can pass."
But amid all the talk of changing the legislation to get enough votes, Republicans say they have not even started discussing an aspect of the legislation that hits close to home: What will happen to their own health insurance? Politico explains:
ObamaCare required members of Congress to enroll in the law's health insurance plans. But so far, Republicans aren't planning to require lawmakers to participate in the new insurance market they're proposing.... Health insurance for members of Congress — and their staffs — was one of the most contentious inside-the-Beltway fights in the long, drawn-out battle over ObamaCare. Lawmakers were stripped of the health insurance that other federal employees get and tossed into ObamaCare, initially without a contribution from their employer, the federal government — thanks to a Republican amendment introduced by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. [Politico]
Republicans have some choices: They could put themselves and their staff back on the federal health insurance plan — a politically risky move — or stay on the exchanges set up under ObamaCare (if those exchanges survive the end of federal subsidies for insurance customers), or throw themselves into whatever new market they create. "I haven't given thought to that," Ryan said Thursday. "We have ObamaCare. We wouldn't have ObamaCare." You can read more at Politico.