WASHINGTON (CN) – No longer appearing to distance himself from bill meant to replace the federal health care law, President Donald Trump began meeting with House Republicans Tuesday to whip up party support.
Kicking off at 9 a.m., Trump’s intercession comes as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan plans to call for a vote Thursday on the proposed legislation.
The result of that vote is anything but certain, however, after House Republicans unveiled new changes just Monday to what they call the American Health Care Act.
One change would let states choose to receive their Medicaid funds through block grants — a shift from the method originally outlined in the bill of the federal government paying states based on enrollment.
The amendment also allows states to put up a work requirement for some recipients of Medicaid who are not old or disabled, and it moves up by a year the repeal dates of taxes required by the law they hope to dismantle, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
House Republicans also say the amendment bumps up funding for older and disabled health care enrollees, which could help to satisfy more moderate members of the party worried the plan was not generous enough.
“With this amendment we accelerate tax relief, give states additional options to spend health care dollars how they choose, strengthen what were already substantial pro-life protections, and ensure there are necessary resources to help older Americans and the disabled,” Ryan said in a statement. “With the president’s leadership and support for this historic legislation, we are now one step closer to keeping our promise to the American people and ending the Obamacare nightmare.”
Conservative members of the House, known as the Freedom Caucus, have lambasted the bill since it was unveiled earlier this month, joined by Democrats and some more moderate Republicans.
Even if the bill passes the Republican-heavy House, the party’s lead in the Senate is much slimmer, and the bill already faces staunch opposition from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
The Affordable Care Act had been the signature legislative achievement of the prior administration, and President Barack Obama amiably tolerated the nicknaming of his legislation as Obamacare.
The proposed American Health Care Act has faced a rockier christening, with both Trump and Ryan resisting efforts to attach their names to the bill.
At Breitbart, the right-wing news outlet started by Trump’s chief strategist Steven Bannon, criticism of the bill has been relentless.