Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Monday he expects Medicaid will stay as part of the American Health Care Act and recipients will keep their coverage.
"We have been working with every member of the Republicans to get a package that works for Americans," said Walden on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "Insurance markets are collapsing. States are begging for more authority and flexibility on the Medicaid side. We are working with all these groups to find something to pass.
If you are on Medicaid today, you will be tomorrow, the next day, the next year. We are not taking it away from anybody who is on it today."
Walden said he has briefed the Republican senators a few times, as has Rep. Kevin Brady, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, and they are incorporating the recommendations from the senators as well.
The AHCA will come up for a House vote on Thursday, and Walden said President Donald Trump was engaged in the work to finish out the bill over the weekend.
"He's been working — he's the closer," Walden said. "He knows how to put it together. He's got great negotiating skills. We are coming together with it. We are adjusting things that came out of cbo. We looked at what they say. How do we fix this and where do we adjust?"
The bill being voted on this week is part of the overall plan to repeal Obamacare.
"We are going to take on medical liability reform," Walden said. "We are going to take on association health plans, buying insurance across state lines. They constitute a greater package than this one bill. To look at this one bill in isolation is not to look at the overall project.It's like looking at a construction project where they poured the foundation and thinking the house is done. It's not. We have a lot of work to do."
Trump promised during his campaign that all Americans would have health coverage that costs less while covering more, but the current bill doesn't do all that, Walden said.
"What we have though, is a big opportunity to get it right," Walden said. "Last year, [there were] 225 counties in America where you only have one insurance option on the exchange. Five states where people have one option. As you talk to the insurers that are left, we are seeing big rate increases coming and we may exit the market. We are trying to fix that. We are trying to get the Medicaid piece right, get it back to the states and make sure that people are covered."
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