U.S. equity futures are heading for a lower opening on Wednesday after U.S. stock indexes declined yesterday over 1 percent with investors fleeing equities for safer assets and volatility rising with the VIX ( S&P 500), largely due to concerns that President Trump’s tax cut plans could be delayed because of division concerning the “repeal and replacement” healthcare plan that lawmakers in the House of Representatives are expected to vote on this Thursday.
President Trump said in earlier speeches that his tax cut plan won’t be addressed until Obamacare is first repealed and replaced.
There are 216 “yes” votes needed in the House of Representatives to pass the proposed healthcare replacement legislation, known as the American Healthcare Act, that President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan hope to get approved.
Currently, there are 248 Republicans in the House and 192 Democrats.
Every Democrat in the House will be voting “no” and several House Republicans still remain opposed to the American Health Care Act for various reasons.
Conservative Republicans such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz don’t believe that the “repeal and replace” healthcare legislation under the American Health Care Act goes far enough to replace Obamacare.
Senator Cruz and Mr. Mark Meadows, Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, wrote a March 15th opinion article for the Wall Street Journal stating that the current repeal and replacement plan won’t lower health care premiums, provide Americans with more choices, or give American families more control over their families’ healthcare.
Here is the opinion article:
Republicans have pledged for six years to repeal ObamaCare and return choice to America’s health-care system. https://t.co/55AqZAsUes
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 20, 2017
Some moderate Republicans oppose the proposed American Health Care Act because it raises healthcare costs disproportionately on the elderly while an estimated 24 million Americans will lose coverage over 10 years, and it gives a generous tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.
The American Health Care Act also partially defunds Planned Parenthood and doesn’t allow Americans to use Medicaid at Planned Parenthood.
Even if there are 216 “yes” votes on Thursday, the American Health Care Act still faces more challenges in the Senate where Republicans have a slimmer advantage.
American Health Care Act Revised
During Tuesday’s White House Press briefing White House Spokesman Sean Spicer said that the House introduced several technical and policy amendments to the American Health Care Act on Monday night that should make it easier to approve.
Here are some of the key amendments/revisions that were recently made to the Act before Thursday’s vote:
- Delivering more immediate relief from Obamacare’s taxes, accelerating the repeal of these taxes from 2017 rather than from 2018, and ensuring that millions of Americans who paid Obamacare’s penalties or taxes can reclaim their hard-earned dollars from the IRS
- Making it easier for Americans to deduct more of the costs of their medical expenses
- Protecting life by prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being used to help purchase insurance plans that currently cover abortion
- Giving states additional flexibility for their Medicaid program covering traditional adult and children populations, while maintaining baseline funding for elderly and disabled populations.
- Giving states the ability to implement optional, reasonable work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents as part of their Medicaid programs
- Freezing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion while allowing for a responsible unwinding, so that people who enroll before 2020 will continue to be supported by the program
- Providing a more generous reimbursement for elderly and disabled Medicaid enrollees, recognizing that those populations have unique needs that must be taken care of.
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