Trump Once Again Scrambles GOP's Efforts to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

Jul 03, 2017, 01:33
Trump Once Again Scrambles GOP's Efforts to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

Asked about the president's challenge, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that President Trump hasn't changed his thinking and is still committed to working with the Senate on legislation - while exploring all options.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's desperate effort to win GOP consensus around his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was rattled once again on Friday when Trump helped revive an old idea he previously rejected to repeal Obamacare now and then replace it down the road. That's pretty much what happened, but instead of defining it in a way that made it easy to reach 218 votes in the House and 50 plus the vice president in the Senate, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell defined repealing Obamacare as slashing Medicaid, which is a very hard sell to even Republican members of Congress. There is, but it's one over the fundamental responsibility of government to enable (almost) everyone to have some sort of health coverage, be it private insurance, public insurance or some mix of the two.

"There would be absolutely no certainty, whatsoever, about anything", Laszewski said.

The Senate healthcare bill did not reach a vote this week, after conservative and moderate senators signalled their opposition, in the face of intense pressure from constituents and after a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score that said 22m Americans would be without health insurance by 2026 if the bill was passed. Several Republican senators signed on to Trump's plan, including Sen.

The tax change would be another frustration for conservatives who wanted to scrap the Affordable Care Act entirely, as they already felt it left too much of the Democrats' measure in place.

Marc Short, Trump's director of legislative affairs, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said: "Our preference is to pass the bill the Senate has right now". Trump threatened to stop making Obamacare's CSR payments - a move that "destabilized" the markets by making it unclear to insurers if they could count on the payments being there.

The idea also would leave unresolved the quandary lawmakers are struggling with now, about how to replace Obama's system of online insurance markets, tax subsidies and an expanded Medicaid with something that could get enough Republican votes to pass Congress. House Republicans barely passed their version of a replacement bill in May, and the task is proving even tougher in the Senate, where McConnell has nearly no margin for error.

Georgia Senator David Perdue sent a letter to majority leader Mitch McConnell urging him to cancel Congress' August vacation.

"Delivering meaningful results was never assumed to be easy, but the millions of Americans who placed their confidence in our leadership expect our full and best effort", the 10 senators wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has dismissed that suggestion and said he meant to proceed with legislation being negotiated over the July 4 recess.

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Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said getting repeal and replace bills close together in time would be key for centrist members of his party. "We can argue whether they like the system we're bringing them in or not, but simply a repeal, even with the sunset the year or two down the road - the problem (is) we know how Washington works". "We are focused on doing that".

On Friday, Republican Senator Ben Sasse who had suggested that Congress first repeal Obamacare and then replace it, tweeted: "Glad you agree, Mr. Pres".

For years, they've claimed the Affordable Care Act has been choking the economy, thanks in large part to the new taxes the law levied on investors.

"That doesn't achieve what President Trump set out to do", he said.

Senate Republicans bussed up to the White House following the concession of at-least-temporary defeat on Tuesday, where President Donald Trump, as usual, insisted progress was being made and a deal was in the offing.

Before Trump was inaugurated in January, Republicans debated and ultimately discarded the idea of repealing the Affordable Care Act before replacing it, concluding that both must happen simultaneously.

McConnell told reporters after an event Friday in his home state of Kentucky that the current health care bill remains challenging but "we are going to stick with that path".

"I don't think we're getting anywhere with the bill we have".

"If you wish to chant and stop others from being able to speak or be heard, that is not civil", Cassidy retorted.

"Any bipartisan health care solution must, at a minimum, include a robust public option for all or a Medicare buy in for all - and if it doesn't, it is dead on arrival with the progressive base and most Americans", PCCC's Adam Green said.

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