The Latest: GOP-aligned group buys ad time for health bill


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

8:25 p.m.

A political group with ties to House Republican leadership is buying $500,000 in television time to promote the Republican health care bill.

The group, American Action Network, says its ad buy will focus on key elements of the American Health Care Act. The campaign also will thank House Speaker Paul Ryan and fellow Republicans for “keeping their promise” on the health care issue.

The ad will appear on national cable and in Ryan’s Wisconsin district. It says the Republican plan will protect people with pre-existing conditions and provide families “with more choices, better coverage and lower premiums.”

Experts have cast doubt on such optimism, particularly regarding the impact the bill will have on people with pre-existing conditions. Senate leaders say they are writing their own health care bill.

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7:10 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledges the Senate is likely to make changes to the GOP health overhaul plan passed by the House.

But he’s defending the House version anyway. He 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.

Both spoke on ABC’s “This Week.”

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.