Sen. Duckworth Has Strong Words for Republican Healthcare Bill Amendment

(KMOX/AP) – Illinois’ Junior Senator is joining other Democratic military veterans in criticizing an amendment to the Republican healthcare bill, that some say could leave seven million veterans ineligible to receive subsidies.

The amendment would only allow veterans to qualify for tax credits if they are not eligible for any other government benefits.

Tammy Duckworth says it’s not clear if the provision was added intentionally, “meaning that the president knowingly broke his promise in order to try to get under the 60 vote threshold in the Senate – or unintentionally – meaning this was done so poorly and haphazardly that they didn’t even know what they were doing, and now they’ve screwed over our veterans.”

Related story: Missouri Gov. Greitens Touts Support of Health Care Overhaul

Duckworth says either way it was sloppy and irresponsible and makes you wonder what else is in the legislation.

House Republican leaders postponed a vote on their health care bill in a setback for President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan.

Prospects for the Republicans’ showcase health care bill had looked grimmer by the minute Thursday despite Trump’s personal lobbying of conservatives. That still left the legislation short of the votes needed for passage.

A senior Republican official said the vote would be delayed. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss internal discussions.

House Republicans plan to meet behind closed doors Thursday night to consider their next steps.

Republicans were intent on voting to dismantle Obamacare on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of former President Barack Obama signing the bill into law.

Congress’ nonpartisan budget analysts say changes Republican leaders have proposed in their health care bill to win House votes have cut the measure’s deficit reduction by more than half.

The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that the new version would reduce federal shortfalls by $150 billion over the next decade. That’s $186 billion less than the original bill.

The deficit reduction figures dropped mostly because the updated measure has additional tax breaks and makes Medicaid benefits more generous for some older and disabled people.

The office says the updated legislation would still result in 14 million additional uninsured people next year and 24 million more in a decade.

Average premiums for people buying individual coverage would still rise over the next two years compared to current law, but then fall.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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