GOP leaders unveil health bill changes to help older Americans

Last Updated Mar 20, 2017 11:35 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- Top House Republicans hunting votes for their health care overhaul are proposing amendments aimed at providing more help for older people, curbing Medicaid and accelerating the repeal of some tax increases.

The bill would let people deduct more medical costs from taxes. It would repeal many tax increases boosted by President Barack Obama’s 2010 statute this year instead of 2018.

Older and disabled Medicaid recipients would get more generous benefits. But states could impose work requirements on the program.

The bill would let the Senate approve tax credits more generous to people age 50 to 64. Congressional analysts say the current GOP legislation would hit many with big cost increases.

GOP leaders released the changes late Monday, three days ahead of a planned House vote on the bill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan released the following statement:

The American Health Care Act is the result of a long, member-driven process, and these improvements are an extension of that inclusive approach. I want to thank the White House and members from all parts of our conference who have helped make this the strongest legislation it can be.

Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Oregon, and Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, released the following statement:

We’re taking additional action tonight to strengthen the American Health Care Act to better serve the millions of Americans who have been hurt by Obamacare. Our legislation includes ideas from Republican members who are committed to improving health care for patients and families across the country. President Trump deserves tremendous credit for rolling up his sleeves and working tirelessly to deliver on his healthcare promise to the American people.

Meanwhile, President Trump rallied supporters Monday night in Louisville, Kentucky, alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after meetings and phone calls in Washington aimed at steadying the troubled legislation designed to erase President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. He planned to court House Republicans on Tuesday.

“We want a very big tax cut, but cannot do that until we keep our promise to repeal and replace the disaster known as ‘Obamacare,’” Trump told the crowd of thousands in Louisville. “This is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of ‘Obamacare.’ It’s a long-awaited chance. We’re going to do it,” he said.