Lacking enough support to pass their deeply flawed health-care bill, House Republicans postponed the planned Thursday vote until this afternoon. That prompted President Donald Trump to issue an ultimatum: Pass the bill today, or Obamacare stays. The New York Times is reporting that 32 GOP members have said they will vote against the bill – or 10 more than what’s needed to kill it if no Democrats vote in favor. Josh Barro with Business Insider reports:
Conservatives in the House are upset that the AHCA doesn’t do enough to remove insurance regulations imposed by Obamacare — and therefore doesn’t do enough to lower premiums. So they want to eliminate the “essential health benefits” rules that say what health-insurance plans have to cover, in hopes this will make insurance more customized and less expensive… Repeal of the EHB rules was included a leaked “discussion draft” for the healthcare bill in February. Its exclusion from the final bill was something of a surprise.
Sarah Lueck of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, explains the ramifications of eliminating the essential health benefits provision:
That would leave many people with pre-existing conditions unable to find the coverage they need at any price, much less an affordable one; result in women being charged more than men; and expose many people with health insurance to unaffordable bills, or even put them at risk for medical bankruptcy.
The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, revised its estimate of the bill’s impact to account for changes made this week. It now would do less to reduce the federal deficit while still leaving 24 million more Americans uninsured than under current law. Which may be one reason why Americans are souring on the bill, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University:
American voters disapprove 56 – 17 percent, with 26 percent undecided, of the Republican health care plan to replace Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Support among Republicans is a lackluster 41 – 24 percent. … Only 12 percent of American voters say the Republican health care plan would have a positive impact on their health care, as 30 percent say it will have a negative impact and 50 percent say it will have no impact.
Reminder: LBP’s analysis of the bill’s impact on Louisiana’s budget is here.
Governor voices concerns about president’s budget
Gov. John Bel Edwards wrote the White House this week with concerns about President Trump’s budget proposal, noting that Louisiana’s flood recovery is “dependent upon the support of the federal government.” Edwards’ main concerns center on cuts to Community Development Block Grants and the Army Corp of Engineers. The Advocate’s Elizabeth Crisp has the story:
“On more than one occasion, Louisiana – possibly more than any other state – has relied on the Corps to help us rebuild and keep our citizens safe,” Edwards wrote to White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, noting the significance of Hurricane Katrina and the August floods… In his letter, Edwards said he has “real concerns” about the administration’s plans to zero out the Community Development Block Grant program in the future and asks for clarity on the impact that might have on disaster recovery.
Edwards is seeking $2 billion in funding from the federal government for flood recovery. This is in addition to the $1.6 billion that Louisiana secured in October. However, Louisiana has yet to receive any portion of that money.
Tweaking the foster care system
Youths who age out of the foster care system in Louisiana are more susceptible to substance abuse, homelessness and incarceration, according to a report from the Department of Children and Family Services. The state is working to address the problem by, among other things, increasing foster care service to young adults aged 18 to 21, establishing a transition care center for youth and hiring of additional staff. This may prove to be a daunting task as the executive budget calls for a $3.7 million cut for the DCFS next year. Lex Talamo with the Shreveport Times:
That report calls for the Louisiana legislature to enact changes this year for older youth in the foster care system, including increased funding to the department for specialized staff, additional resources and extending foster care services to youth up to age 21 instead of 18… The department provides a number of services for older youth, including independent living stipends, case management, rent and utility deposits. But (Akiva) Robinson acknowledged additional funding for DCFS as one of the most important steps the state could take to help foster youth. “It’s not on DCFS because they don’t have the funding to do all that we need them to do,” she said.
Number of the day
23- Number of “no” votes from Republican House members that will ensure the defeat of the American Health Care Act, assuming no Democrat supports the bill.