Republicans on defense after report says millions would lose insurance | Reuters
By Susan Heavey and Susan Cornwell | WASHINGTON WASHINGTON Republicans on Tuesday defended their plan to dismantle the Obamacare healthcare reform after a nonpartisan research report showed 14 million Americans would lose medical insurance by next year under the proposal even as it reduces the budget deficit.
By Susan Heavey and Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON Republicans on Tuesday defended their plan to dismantle the Obamacare healthcare reform after a nonpartisan research report showed 14 million Americans would lose medical insurance by next year under the proposal even as it reduces the budget deficit. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office report on Monday forecast that by 2026, the number of people without health insurance would increase by 24 million if the House of Representatives' legislation to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act is adopted.The findings could make it harder for Republicans to sell the plan - their first major piece of legislation under Republican President Donald Trump - in Congress, especially the Senate.The Trump administration defended the proposed healthcare overhaul, saying it will offer consumers more choices than Obamacare, former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement.Congressional Republicans have vowed for years to undo Obamacare, which expanded health insurance to about 20 million Americans.But their new effort faces opposition from a range of Republicans - from conservatives who think it does not go far enough to moderates concerned about the impact on coverage and costs. Doctors, hospitals and other medical providers as well as patient advocates have urged lawmakers to abandon the plan.Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he did not think the CBO report meant the end of the proposal. “No matter what you do ... you’re going to have differences like that, and to be honest with you, I don’t think they truly looked at all the aspects,” he said.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney dismissed CBO's ability to analyze healthcare coverage and said the focus should not be on how many people are insured. "Coverage is not the end. People don't get better with coverage, they get better with care," he told MSNBC.In one assessment that might convince more Senate Republicans to back the bill, the CBO said federal deficits would fall by $337 billion between 2017 and 2026 under the measure.Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare and provide insurance for everybody, has yet to comment on the report.'A WRECK'
Democrats say the Republican plan could hurt the elderly, poor and working families while giving tax cuts for the rich. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said it "is a wreck."
"It's vintage Donald Trump: talks like a populist, but when he acts, it's hard-right, favoring the special interests and hurting the middle class and those trying to get there," Democrat Schumer told a news conference. Shares of hospitals and health insurers fell, partly on worries the plan would mean fewer insured patients.Among insurer stocks, UnitedHealth Group Inc was down 0.8 percent, Aetna Inc shed 0.8 percent and Humana Inc dipped 0.7 percent. “What that means basically is lower volume for the health insurers. It looks like it's going to be the dismantling of the individual insurance market, which again means lower revenues and the loss of the individual market for the most part for the insurers,” said Vishnu Lekraj, an equity analyst at Morningstar.
Hospital shares were also lower. Tenet Healthcare Corp fell 4 percent and HCA Holdings Inc slipped 1.6 percent.Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz said he was concerned the plan would not lower health insurance premiums. "I've got significant concerns about the House bill, and as drafted, the House bill would not pass the Senate," he told reporters.Overall, CBO projected that 52 million people would be uninsured by 2026 if the bill becomes law, compared with 28 million who would not have coverage that year if Obamacare remained unchanged.CBO also said federal deficits would fall by $337 billion between 2017 and 2026 under the Republican bill.Separately, a White House analysis showed 26 million people would lose coverage over the next 10 years, Politico reported, citing an Office of Management and Budget document. Mulvaney, the budget director, told CNN he was unaware of that document. (Additional reporting by Caroline Humer, Mike Erman and Natalie Grover; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jeffrey Benkoe)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.