US representative Paul Ryan speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill. (FILE)
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WASHINGTON - U.S. House Republicans are working on changes to their healthcare overhaul bill to provide more generous tax credits for older Americans and add a work requirement for the Medicaid program for the poor, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Sunday.
Ryan said Republican leaders still planned to bring the healthcare bill to a vote on the House of Representatives floor on Thursday.
Speaking on the Fox News Sunday television program, he added that leaders were working to address concerns that had been raised by rank-and-file Republicans to the legislation.
Republicans remain deeply divided over the healthcare overhaul, which is President Donald Trump’s first major legislative initiative. It aims to fulfil his campaign pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, the healthcare program of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
Democrats say the Republican plan could throw millions off health insurance and hurt the elderly, poor and working families while giving tax cuts to the rich.
“We think we should be offering even more assistance than the bill currently does” for lower-income people age 50 to 64, Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, said of the tax credits for health insurance that are proposed in the legislation.
Ryan also said Republicans were working on changes that would allow federal block grants to states for Medicaid and permit states to impose a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.
Trump told reporters in a brief conversation aboard Air Force One that he had meetings about healthcare reform over the weekend in Florida and that the effort to sell the proposal was going well. (Reuters)