Larry Kudlow, the veteran financial guru and former economist in the Reagan administration, said he’s confident the Senate will move forward with healthcare reform after the House approved a bill to undo Obamacare. Medicaid funding will be a "huge issue" for lawmakers to debate.
The Republican-controlled House narrowed approved the measure by a vote of 217-213, with 20 GOP defections, setting up a pathway to the Senate. The House bill would replace former President Barack Obama's federal subsidies for low-income buyers of insurance with tax credits based on age. It also would cut Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.
“The Democrats don't seem to want to play, but this will make it a faster process, and they are not going to throw out the House bill,” Kudlow said on CNBC. “They are going to work through it. Medicaid reimbursement is a huge, huge issue.”
Kudlow is host of "The Larry Kudlow Show" and author of "JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity," written with Brian Domitrovic and published by Portfolio.
President Donald Trump last year campaigned on a pledge to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which had been the most sweeping change to the U.S. healthcare system since Medicare and Medicaid were created in the 1960s. House Republicans in March first tried to pass a new healthcare law in March, but withdrew the plan amid intraparty squabbling.
After the successful House vote this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised the bill as "an important step" to erasing Obama's signature legislative achievement but left the door open to changes.
Another major sticking point will be steps to combat the opioid addiction epidemic in the U.S. The House measure would let states avoid Obama's requirement that insurers cover anti-drug services.
"I've already made clear that I don't support the House bill as currently constructed," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. He pointed to its Medicaid cuts, including for treating people with drug problems, and said he'd make sure that "those who are impacted by this epidemic can continue to receive treatment."
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