>> Republicans consider changes to their plan to replace Obamacare, as opposition from within the Republican ranks grows even louder.>> We wanna be free of Obamacare.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where the Republican plan is on life support after congressional score keepers found that it would cover 24 million fewer Americans than the current system.
Both the White House and House Speaker Paul Ryan now acknowledging that the plan needs to be reworked the question is how. Centrist Republicans say the plan as written doesn't cover enough Americans, they want to expand coverage. That of course drives up costs. Which would further alienate conservatives who already think that it's too expensive.
Either way Ryan faces a treacherous high wire act as he tries to keep his plan from collapsing entirely. Ryan has little room for error, Democrats are in lock step against the plan so he can't afford to lose many votes from his side. And he's getting plenty of advice from both the House and the Senate on how to improve the bill.
Senior lawmakers like John Thune, of North Dakota, want better coverage for older, less affluent Americans who would see their costs skyrocket under the Ryan bill. Then there's Medicaid, the health program for the poor that was expanded under President Obama's Affordable Care Act. The Ryan plan would scale back Medicaid by restricting it to fewer people and capping how much the Federal government pays.
Republican Senators like Cory Gardner of Colorado want that provision taken out of Ryan's bill. But Ryan not caving by any means, making it clear on Wednesday that the major elements of his plan backed by President Donald Trump will remain intact.>> Cuz the law's gonna get even worse if we do nothing,
>> Ryan getting a bit of a boost on Wednesday, the US government reporting that participation in Obamacare's health exchanges is declining. About 12.2 million Americans signed up in 2017, that's down half a million from 2016. This gives Ryan ammunition to say the program isn't working and needs to replaced as quickly as possible to prevent the healthcare system from collapsing.
>> We promised the American people we would fix this problem.