House Republicans are taking fire from all sides as they seek to push through their plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has guaranteed the bill will pass Congress, but it won’t be a smooth ride to President Trump’s desk.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected this week to release its score of the GOP legislation.
The CBO is widely expected, even among Republicans, to estimate that millions of people would no longer have health insurance under the plan.
With that in mind, Republicans are already looking to discredit the office and downplay the importance of the score.
“If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said earlier this week.
Ryan, meanwhile, compared CBO scores to a “beauty contest.”
Republican governors from states that took ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion are wary of the healthcare legislation.
Thirty-one states expanded their Medicaid programs under ObamaCare, but the AHCA would phase it out starting Jan. 1, 2020.
“Phasing out Medicaid coverage without a viable alternative is counterproductive and unnecessarily puts at risk our ability to treat the drug addicted, mentally ill, and working poor who now have access to a stable source of care,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said in a statement Wednesday.
Leading conservative groups have come out firmly against the healthcare proposal, saying it doesn’t live up to the GOP’s promise of fully repealing ObamaCare.
Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity are all planning on upping the pressure on GOP leadership to make significant changes.
The groups provide financial and political support to back Republicans in their election races, and they could make life difficult for lawmakers in 2018 if they don’t fully repeal the healthcare law.
GOP lawmakers have faced pressure from constituents at town halls in recent weeks, with many calling on Congress to keep ObamaCare.
The backlash is even happening in deep red states like Iowa and Kentucky.
The lack of conservative support is endangering the plan’s chance of passing the House.
Assuming all members vote and all Democrats vote no, it would take 21 House GOP defections to kill the bill.
But members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have blasted the legislation as “ObamaCare 2.0” and “ObamaCare lite,” mainly because of its reliance on refundable tax credits, which they call a new entitlement program.
Freedom Caucus members came out of their meeting Tuesday asserting that the bill does not have the votes to pass.
The AHCA hasn’t even reached the House floor, but it’s already receiving pushback from Republican senators.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said the House GOP should “start over” on its replacement plan.
The legislation has been criticized by at least 11 senators, including some from Medicaid expansion states who don’t want to see the expansion rolled back.
Conservatives like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), meanwhile, are backing the Freedom Caucus’s push for repealing more of ObamaCare. Paul has introduced his own legislation to repeal ObamaCare.
Just three Republican no votes would likely sink the healthcare legislation in the Senate.