Time for talk running out, President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned wavering House Republicans that their jobs were on the line in next year’s elections if they failed to back a GOP bill that would upend Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The countdown quickened toward an expected vote Thursday on legislation undoing much of the law that has provided coverage to some 20 million Americans.
Trump huddled behind closed doors with rank-and-file Republicans just hours after GOP leaders unveiled changes intended to pick up votes by doling out concessions to centrists and hardliners alike. “If we fail to get it done, fail to meet the promises made by all of us, including the president, then it could have a very detrimental effect to Republicans in ’18 who are running for re-election,” said Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas. “If it fails, then there will be a lot of people looking for work in 2018.” Trump’s message to Republicans: “If you don’t pass the bill there could be political costs,” said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.
The GOP bill would scale back the role of government in the private health insurance market, and limit future federal financing for Medicaid. It would repeal tax increases on the wealthy that Democrats used to pay for Obama’s coverage expansion. Fines enforcing the Obama-era requirement that virtually all Americans have coverage would be eliminated.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million fewer people will have health insurance in 2026 under the GOP bill.