On Thursday, House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) will take over as President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, a move that will be seen as a major boost for the health care reform legislation Congress is currently working on.
But the announcement comes as Republicans have struggled to craft a plan that will keep the country’s signature health care program afloat, and the president’s own recent moves to push through major changes to the Affordable Care Act could undermine the plan’s prospects for passage.
The president announced on Tuesday that he will appoint Price to lead the department, and Vice President Mike Pence will serve as his chief of staff.
Pence’s job will be to negotiate the bill with Democrats and moderate Republicans and the Trump administration has been pressing the health secretary to push for an expansion of Medicaid and a repeal of Obamacare’s tax penalties on the wealthy.
The healthcare overhaul has been in limbo since the GOP-led House and Senate failed to pass the legislation on July 25.
The administration has said it plans to bring back the Medicaid expansion in the near future.
The budget deal reached between House Speaker Paul Ryan (R, Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R and Kentucky) would have created an additional $9 billion in supplemental funding for Medicaid in 2018 and 2019, with a further $7 billion to be available in 2020 and 2021.
That money would be used to help low-income families afford private insurance coverage and the Affordable Health Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate to buy health insurance.
The deal, however, included provisions that would have kept the ACA’s tax on high-income earners, which currently applies to individuals earning $200,000 or more, in place for 2019 and 2020.
The ACA also has a provision that limits how much money insurers can collect from consumers with pre-existing conditions, which would make the repeal of the tax on the rich more of a political liability than a political benefit.
Ryan and McConnell have sought to strike a deal that preserves the tax provisions that were included in the House bill, arguing that repealing the individual mandate would hurt insurance companies and cause the ACA to become unaffordable for many low- and middle-income Americans.
But some Democrats have been reluctant to support the health bill because of concerns about the GOP plans to replace Obamacare with their own alternative.
The House is scheduled to vote on a plan on Wednesday, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has expressed her concerns that the Republican proposal would leave Americans uninsured.
“I am very concerned about the impact of the Republican plan to eliminate the individual health insurance mandate,” Pelosi said on Wednesday.
“We have to take care of our constituents, and if the Republicans have their way, we will be the last people on the planet to have health care.”
Republicans have insisted that the ACA will remain in place.
But many of the most vulnerable Americans are already covered under Medicaid and the health law’s tax provisions, including the exclusion of high-cost catastrophic plans from the tax, which makes insurance cheaper for those who cannot afford to buy insurance.
A bipartisan group of senators is working on a bipartisan health care plan that would include a refundable tax credit for those making between $80,000 and $125,000 per year, and a premium tax credit of $1,000 for those with incomes of up to $250,000.
That plan would also provide additional financial assistance to states to expand Medicaid.
The Senate’s version of the bill, which has a number of provisions aimed at strengthening the ACA, has the support of most of the Senate’s GOP senators, including Sens.
Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Lisa Murkowski (R.
Alaska), who have also opposed the ACA.
Trump has called the health plan the “gold standard” of reform and is pushing for a full repeal of its provisions.
The Republican plan, however it ultimately becomes law, would leave the ACA in place while it is being repealed, and its impact on the country will be difficult to predict.
The health care law was created by Congress in 2010 with the aim of reforming the healthcare system and ensuring that Americans have access to quality health care.
Its most important provisions include the ACA Medicaid expansion, the requirement that individuals buy insurance and coverage for at least three months and a ban on insurance companies discriminating against people with pre or post-existing medical conditions.
The legislation also included a series of tax increases that were designed to help pay for the healthcare reform, but critics have called the legislation’s overall economic impact insufficient.
For example, the House proposal would raise taxes on the richest Americans by $1.9 trillion over 10 years.
Another major tax increase, which could be passed by the Senate, would add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.
Trump campaigned on repealing the ACA and has said he will seek to replace it with a replacement plan, but Republicans are struggling to craft an alternative that is as comprehensive and politically