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Paul Ryan confident GOP's health overhaul will pass this week

20 March 2017

House Speaker Ryan disputed the comparison, saying it suggests the same plans the ACA established will be available in a decade.

"We believe that we do need to add some additional assistance to people in those older cohorts", Ryan said of the bill, known as the American Health Care Act, on "Fox News Sunday".

Republicans remain deeply divided over the healthcare overhaul, which is President Donald Trump's first major legislative initiative.

"We feel very good where we are", Ryan said, adding "We're still having conversations with our members".

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At the White House on Monday, the president met with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an architect of Obama's health care law and the brother of Obama's White House chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The repeal legislation, titled the American Health Care Act, faces a steep climb on its way to President Trump's desk.

The analysis released last week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that the House Republican plan would provide less assistance to older, low-income Americans than Obamacare while allowing insurers to charge older customers up to five times more than younger consumers.

The Wisconsin Republican says "we believe we should offer more assistance than what the bill now does" and that it's one of several possible revisions to help round up enough House votes for the bill. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) - that they agree with some of their demands in principle, according to several sources familiar with the discussions.

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The Freedom Caucus wants much more conservative changes to the GOP health plan that would repeal all of ObamaCare's provisions and insurer mandates, like one that requires insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions.

In an extreme case laid out in the CBO report, a 64-year-old earning $26,500 a year would see yearly premiums rise from $1,700 under the ACA to $14,600 under the Republican plan. That, according to the CBO estimate, leads to substantial cost savings that - together with cuts to Medicaid - allow the GOP plan to eliminate almost all of the taxes imposed under the ACA.

North Carolina Republican Meadows said the changes being considered for the Medicaid program would not go far enough if they left it up to states to decide whether to put in place a work requirement.

But Ryan admitted that there were improvements to be made to the bill until it is brought to the floor. "I believe that the real negotiation begins when we stop them". He cited Trump's hands-on involvement as a key factor is moving the legislation forward.

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Paul Ryan confident GOP's health overhaul will pass this week