One Republican congressman announced Wednesday that he would vote for the White House’s preferred Obamacare replacement bill because House Speaker Paul Ryan assured him that his own bill to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving health care tax credits would be considered on the House floor.
Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) announced that he would vote for the American Health Care Act, saying President Donald Trump supported his proposal and House Speaker Paul Ryan would allow a vote on it.
“President Trump and Speaker Ryan agreed with me last night that this is wrong and must be fixed,” Barletta wrote, referring to undocumented people receiving tax credits. “The president gave his full support to legislation I will introduce to deny health care tax credits to illegal immigrants, and the speaker promised to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote. Because my concerns were met, I will vote for the bill with the understanding that my bill will receive full consideration on the House floor next month.”
Barletta had said in a statement Monday that he would not vote for the AHCA.
“I would have a hard time explaining to families in the 11th District – many of whom are still struggling to put food on the table and foot the costs of their own health care bills – why they should be helping to pay for the health expenses of someone who broke the law to get here and has no right to those federal dollars,” he wrote.
Barletta claimed in his Wednesday statement that “three-quarters of a billion dollars in Obamacare subsidies have been given to illegal immigrants,” an apparent reference to numbers in a 2016 report from Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Applicants who have not verified their citizenship status may receive tax subsidies under Obamacare initially, but those subsidies are revoked if they do not verify their citizenship within a set time period.
“Lack of verification does not mean an individual is ineligible for financial assistance, but only that a Marketplace did not receive sufficient information to verify eligibility in the time period outlined in the law,” a CMS spokesperson said by way of explanation, according to ABC News.
The AHCA is still struggling to receive enough votes from House Republicans to pass on to the Senate and, eventually, President Trump’s desk. On Wednesday, the House Rules Committee Chair Pete Sessions (R-TX) said: “It could be this bill runs into problems as we get on the floor.”