House Speaker Paul Ryan
House Speaker Paul Ryan

Republicans Revamp Health Bill, Boost Benefits To Older Americans

Washington  –    US House Republicans are working on changes

to their healthcare overhaul bill to provide more

generous tax credits for older Americans and add

a work requirement for the Medicaid programme for

the poor, House Speaker Paul Ryan, said.

Media reports quoted Ryan on Monday as saying that Republican leaders still planned to

bring the healthcare bill to a vote on the House of

Representatives floor on Thursday.

Ryan said leaders were working to address concerns

that had been raised by rank-and-file Republicans

to the legislation.

Republicans remain deeply divided over the

healthcare overhaul, which is President Donald

Trump’s first major legislative initiative.

Democrats say the Republican plan could throw

millions off health insurance and hurt the elderly,

poor and working families while giving tax cuts to

the rich.

“We think we should be offering even more

assistance than the bill currently does” for lower-

income people age 50 to 64, Ryan, the top

Republican in Congress, said of the tax credits for

health insurance that are proposed in the

legislation.

Ryan also said Republicans were working on

changes that would allow federal block grants to

states for Medicaid and permit states to impose a

work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid

recipients.

Trump told reporters in a brief conversation

aboard Air Force One that he had meetings about

healthcare reform in Florida at the weekend and

that the effort to sell the proposal was going well.

He has been wooing lawmakers to vote for the bill

and won the backing of a dozen conservative

lawmakers on Friday after an Oval Office meeting

in which the president endorsed a work

requirement and block-grant option for Medicaid.

Trump is set to meet Ezekiel Emanuel, a health

policy special adviser under Obama who helped

shape the Affordable Care Acton, at the White

House on Monday, along with Ryan and Health

and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Block grants would give states a set amount of

money to cover people on the Medicaid programme

and provide flexibility in spending decisions.

However, there is no guarantee funding would

keep up with future demands.

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