The Latest: Idaho lawmaker booed, jeered on health care quip


BRANCHBURG, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on health care legislation (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

House Republicans are already feeling some backlash from American voters resulting from last Thursday’s vote.

Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho drew sharp criticism and booing at a town hall Friday for his response to an attendee who expressed worry that the House bill would hurt Medicaid recipients.

The woman in Lewiston said: “You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying.”

Labrador, who is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, responded: “That line is so indefensible. Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

The auditorium immediately erupted in loud boos, jeers and gasps, according to the Idaho Statesman, and his remarks quickly went viral on social media.

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11:55 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan insists a bill the House passed to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s health care law provides sufficient coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Ryan says the House measure gives states flexibility to set up high-risk pools for the very sick so that no one is denied coverage.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, however, says she’s not so certain the House plan would protect people from higher costs. She says a high-risk pool in Maine worked only because it had a clear source of funding. Health analysts question whether the extra $8 billion the House bill provides over five years for high-risk pools will be enough.

Ryan acknowledged the Senate is likely to make changes to the House bill.

Both spoke on ABC’s “This Week.”

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11:10 a.m.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is expressing concerns about the bill passed by the House to replace the nation’s health care law and says she expects the Senate to start over “from scratch.”

Collins is a moderate senator whose vote will be important in the narrowly divided Senate. She says the House bill is hard to assess because it was passed without a fresh Congressional Budget Office analysis of coverage and cost.

Asked if she could support the House version, Collins says: “The House bill is not going to come before us.” She says senators will “come up with a whole new fresh approach.”

Collins cited concerns about potential higher costs to older Americans and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

She spoke on ABC’s “This Week.”

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10:15 a.m.

The White House is disputing the argument by congressional Democrats that House Republicans could face election losses in 2018 due to the health care bill they pushed through last week.

President Donald Trump’s chief of staff says that after the Senate passes its version and the two chambers settle on a final compromise, voters will embrace Republicans for giving them a system with lower premiums, better service and more options.

Reince Priebus (ryns PREE’-bus) tells “Fox News Sunday” that he thinks “the Republican Party will be rewarded” when the health care legislation to replace President Barack Obama’s overhaul becomes law.

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10:10 a.m.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price says cutting nearly $1 trillion from Medicaid would give states freedom to tailor the program to fit their needs.

Price is defending a bill narrowly passed by the House last week to undo parts of the health care law enacted under President Barack Obama.

Price says during appearances on two Sunday talk shows that Medicaid is fundamentally flawed. He says changes would get people the care and coverage that they need.

A proposed $880 billion cut to Medicaid was in an earlier version of the bill and based on a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the measure.

The CBO has yet to release an updated analysis of the latest version of the bill, which faces an uncertain outcome in the Senate.