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Schumer wants to stop health care plan ‘before it’s too late’

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U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged House Republicans on Wednesday to vote against the GOP’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made a pitch to House Republicans on Wednesday to vote against the GOP’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is commonly known as Obamacare.

Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, said he is skeptical that the plan would pass the Senate and the Senate’s reconciliation rules, according to The Hill. The American Health Care Act, proposed by Republicans in the House of Representatives, would replace the ACA and change its premium tax credits rule from income-based to a flat tax determined by age. It would also leave 24 million Americans without health care, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The House is expected to try to pass the bill on Thursday, although it has received mixed support. It will need 216 votes to pass, which means only 21 Republicans can vote no, according to CBS News. As of Wednesday afternoon though, CBS listed 28 representatives opposed to the bill in its current form.

Rep. John Katko (R-NY), who represents New York’s 24th Congressional District — which covers Onondaga, Cayuga, Wayne and Oswego counties — is one of those 28. In his district, 67,000 people would lose health care coverage under the new plan, including 6,200 children, according to Syracuse.com.

Convincing representatives on the fence about the bill is the major hurdle facing both Republicans and Democrats, which Schumer hinted at on Wednesday when he said “there is a way out,” per The Hill.

Schumer said that some of the portions of the bill that representatives see as positive may be killed in the Senate, which he said should lead them to reconsider their vote. The reconciliation rules state that, for the Senate to pass bills using only a simple Senate majority, they must be focused on addressing the deficit. Any portions of the bill that do not focus on addressing the deficit may be dropped.

“House Republicans should hear this before they vote. Those provisions that you might think help you vote yes on the bill may not survive. Factor that into your vote,” Schumer said, per The Hill.

The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation have estimated the bill would slash federal deficits by $337 billion between 2017-26.

Schumer called the bill “hypocritical” and “inhumane” because of the portions that will strip health care from some Americans, according to Syracuse.com.

The effect this may have on constituents has been a major cause for concern for some GOP representatives. According to The Hill, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who leads the conservative Freedom Caucus in the House, said his members alone can — and may — block the bill themselves.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already said he will bring the health care bill to the Senate if it passes the House. McConnell could lose two Republican senators and still pass the bill in the Senate. Senators would be able to modify the bill if it makes it that far.

Another New York representative, Chris Collins (R-NY), has said he would support the bill and has added an amendment to it that would specifically affect New York state.

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