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Trump ‘Disgraced’ As Obamacare Stays |The Republican News

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President Donald Trump

GOP Sens. Jerry Moran (Kan.) and Mike Lee (Utah) announced, on Monday night, that they would not support taking up a bill repealing and replacing ObamaCare, effectively blocking the legislation.

Their decision means Republicans in the Senate are well short of having the support to pass their legislation, and raises serious questions about whether President Trump would reach his goal of ending ObamaCare.

In light of Monday’s challenges, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.) said the Senate will try to separate ObamaCare repeal and replacement, closing the door on the chamber’s current healthcare legislation.

“In the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period,” McConnell said in a statement.

The move means Senate Republicans will try to repeal and replace ObamaCare separately, reverting to a plan Senate GOP leadership initially proposed earlier this year, but had to abandon due to lack of support.

In announcing their opposition to the Senate draft, Moran and Lee both said the bill failed to do enough to lower premiums.

“This closed-door process has yielded the [bill], which fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address healthcare’s rising costs. For the same reasons I could not support the previous version of this bill, I cannot support this one,” Moran said in a statement.

He added that the Senate “must now start fresh with an open legislative process,” an indication that relatively minor changes to the current bill would not be enough to win his support. It may also indicate he wants hearings on a bill, which was absent from the process on the current measure.

Highlighting the challenges faced by McConnell, Lee argued the measure is not conservative enough, tugging in the opposite direction from moderates.

“In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle-class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations,” the Utah Republican said in a statement.

Lee added on Twitter that he and Moran would not support proceeding to “this version” of the Senate GOP legislation, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, leaving the door open to additional changes.

Lee warned that a controversial amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) included in the bill does not go far enough. That amendment allows insurers to sell plans that don’t fulfil ObamaCare’s coverage mandates if they also sell plans that do.

Lee’s announcement came after he distanced himself late last week from the Cruz-negotiated provision, which was a spin-off of an amendment he initially worked out with the Texas senator. But the Utah Republican quickly said that he had not “seen it or agreed to it.”

Lee objects that the amendment still does not repeal ObamaCare’s requirement that healthy and sick people be grouped in a “single risk pool,” which he says would undermine the effectiveness of the amendment.

Moderates, many health experts and major health insurance companies are warning that premiums would spike for the people remaining in the ObamaCare plans. Any move by McConnell to address Lee’s concerns and move the bill further to the right would risk losing the support of key moderate senators, many of whom are already wary of the legislation.

The Monday evening announcement put four GOP senators officially on record against the bill and left McConnell without enough support to bring up it to the floor, forcing him to seek a plan b.

With a slim 52-seat majority, he could only afford to lose two GOP senators and Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Rand Paul (Ky.) were already expected to vote no.

In a tweet, President Trump said “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate,” adding that, “Dems will join in!” (TheHill)

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Democrats Chant ‘hey, hey, goodbye’ At House Republican After Narrowly Passing Healthcare Bill

 

Allan Smith

Video by Bloomberg

Democrats mocked Republicans from the House floor Thursday after GOP representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act by chanting “na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye,” at their counterparts.

The chant appeared to be in reference to Democrats’ belief that a vote for the AHCA, the Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, would result in many of the Republican representatives being voted out of office next year.

The bill passed by a slim 217-to-213 margin. It now will advance onto the Senate, where it could be subjected to alterations and its fate is unclear.

The first iteration of the bill was pulled from the House floor in March after it became apparent it would not have enough votes to pass. This version featured a couple of tweaks, which helped push it over the finish line.

In a speech preceding the vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said a vote for the AHCA would be tattooed on those members of Congress’ faces, and they would “glow in the dark” from the vote.

House Republicans departed Congress soon after the vote to travel to the White House for a Rose Garden celebration and press conference with President Donald Trump.

Screen_Shot_2017 05 04_at_2_41_26_PM© Provided by Business Insider Screen_Shot_2017 05 04_at_2_41_26_PM

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Republican Healthcare Bill Hung Up On Pre-existing Conditions

 

Peter Sullivan and Jessie Hellmann
GOP bill hung up on pre-existing conditions© Provided by The Hill GOP bill hung up on pre-existing conditions  

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) on Tuesday became the latest House Republican to come out against the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill, underlining how the legislation is losing support from lawmakers who fear it could hurt people with pre-existing health conditions.

Some lawmakers expressed doubts that the healthcare bill would come up for a vote this week despite a push from House leaders to get it to the floor before a one-week recess.

“I guess all things are possible, but at least right now I don’t see that happening,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), who said there are too many “no” votes piling up.

The opposition from Upton, a former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was significant. He is widely respected on the issue, having written healthcare legislation in the past, and described the changes to the bill as a bridge too far.

“I’ve supported the practice of not allowing pre-existing illnesses to be discriminated against from the very get-go,” Upton said. “This amendment torpedoes that, and I told leadership I cannot support this bill with this provision in it.”

The revised bill would allow states to waive certain ObamaCare protections that now prevent insurers from charging people more based on their health.

The provision – inserted to win over the House Freedom Caucus – has become perhaps the biggest obstacle to passing the healthcare bill, causing members like Upton to turn against it.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other GOP leaders tried to tackle the issue during a conference meeting Tuesday, telling members there are “layers” of protection for the sick in the bill. Those protections include the creation of new high-risk pools for people shut out of coverage, and a provision stipulating that people with continuous insurance coverage can’t be denied for pre-existing conditions.

Those assurances weren’t enough for Upton. While there has been some chatter of adding more money for high-risk pools to try to win support for the bill, Upton rejected that idea, telling The Hill, “More money does not do the trick.”

Similarly, Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) on Monday surprised Republicans by announcing he could not vote for the healthcare bill. Like Upton, he said the measure fails to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

Republicans are also dealing with a viral video from late night host Jimmy Kimmel, who on his talk show recounted a story about how his infant son Billy was born with a heart condition.

Kimmel tearfully told his audience that all children should be assured of getting the care his son received, and argued that the protections in ObamaCare for people with pre-existing health conditions should be retained.

“Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition,” Kimmel said. “You were born with a pre-existing condition, and if your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not even live long enough to get denied because of a pre-existing condition.”

Former President Barack Obama tweeted out the Kimmel video, stating “that’s exactly why we fought so hard for the [Affordable Care Act], and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy.”

Republicans are under pressure from the White House to get the healthcare bill passed before they leave town for a one-week recess, and GOP leaders aren’t giving up.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise told The Hill that his team has been picking up yes votes daily and remains hopeful a vote could be held soon. The Louisiana Republican had already heard last week that Upton and Long were not going to vote for the legislation and said he wasn’t surprised by the developments.

“We pulled Fred out and Billy out last week from the yes column,” Scalise said. “We’re still talking to both of them. We have not given up on either. But we had already moved them.”

Lawmakers are expecting to discuss healthcare further at their end-of-the-week policy conference on Thursday.

“I think at this point it either passes by Thursday or we’ll have to find a Plan B or C,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), a senior member of the whip team, added, “The longer it festers, I think, the more difficult it is to pass.”

Weakening pre-existing condition protections in the new bill has emerged as the main concern among the Republican holdouts.

A study from the liberal Center for American Progress on Tuesday found that the high-risk pools in the GOP bill are underfunded by $200 billion over 10 years and would not provide enough funding to make coverage affordable for sick people.

Illustrating the divide in the Republican conference, Upton said he met with some Freedom Caucus members on Monday about his concerns, but “they’re not willing to budge, at least at this point.”

He said “a good number of us” don’t want to go along with the Freedom Caucus change to weaken ObamaCare protections.

“We’re not going to budge, either,” Upton said.

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), the author of the new amendment, said there are “some talks” about adding more money for high-risk pools to try to win over moderates, but he doubted that would sway many on its own.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), a member of the moderate Tuesday Group, said time is running out for getting a repeal bill passed.

“The progression of time is not our friend in getting this over the finish line,” Collins said Tuesday.

“There’s more and more protests coming out and distorted statements coming out around the country from different groups that puts pressure on members to turn from a lean yes to a no,” he added.

Several advocacy groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, have slammed the revised bill, saying it would raise costs for sick people.

“There’s not many groups out there standing on top of the hill with a megaphone saying that we got to get this passed,” Collins said.

Some moderates also have concerns about the underlying legislation, which would effectively end ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid and which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found would result in 24 million more people becoming uninsured.

Some moderates worry the changes would contradict previous statements they’ve made about protecting people with pre-existing conditions.

“If a bill that’s ultimately going to get to the floor contradicts statements that I’ve made, that becomes problematic for me and other members,” said Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), who has said he’ll vote no on the bill.          (The Hill)

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House Republican Leaders Abruptly Pull Their Rewrite Of The Healthcare Bill

 

Robert Costa, Mike DeBonis and Ed O’Keefe

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. pauses during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 24, 2017. Republican leaders have abruptly pulled their troubled health care overhaul bill off the House floor, short of votes and eager to avoid a humiliating defeat for President Donald Trump and GOP leaders.© AP Photo/Andrew Harnik House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. pauses during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 24, 2017. Republican leaders have abruptly pulled their troubled health care overhaul bill off the House floor…  

House Republican leaders abruptly pulled a rewrite of the nation’s health-care system from consideration on Friday, a dramatic defeat for President Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that leaves a major campaign promise unfilled and casts doubt on the Republican Party’s ability to govern.

In addition to leaving the Affordable Care Act in place, the news also raises questions about the GOP’s ability to advance other high-stakes agenda items, including tax reform and infrastructure spending. Ryan is still without a signature achievement as speaker — and the defeat undermines Trump’s image as a skilled dealmaker willing to strike compromises to push his agenda forward.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump deflected any responsibility for the setback and blamed Democrats instead.

“We couldn’t get one Democratic vote and we were a little bit shy, very little, but it was still a little bit shy so we pulled it,” he said.

“I don’t blame Paul,” Trump said, referring to Ryan.

In a news conference shortly after the decision, Ryan conceded that his party “came up short.”

Trump said he would not ask Republican leaders to reintroduce the legislation in the coming weeks. Instead, he said he would wait for the current law encounter problems, believing that Democrats will want to work with the White House to make changes.

“As you know, I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal. And they will come to us, we won’t have to come to them,” he said.

“The beauty,” Trump continued, “is that they own Obamacare. So when it explodes they come to us and we make one beautiful deal for the people.”

Trump said he had no problem waiting for Democrats to seek cooperation with Republicans on health-care.

“I never said I was going to repeal and replace in the first 61 days,” he said.

In fact, Trump said repeatedly as a candidate and before his inauguration that he would work to repeal the ACA on his first day in office. And congressional Republicans have spent the last seven years campaigning to undo the law.

Democrats, completely sidelined as Republicans quarreled among themselves, quickly disputed Trump’s accusations.

“The blame falls with President Trump and with the Republicans,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

“So much for the art of the deal,” he added.

At the Capitol, a deflated Ryan said he would confer with fellow Republicans in the coming days about how to proceed, but he warned that “we’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

“Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains. We’re feeling those growing pains today,” he told reporters at a news conference covered by at least 20 television cameras.

“This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard,” he added. “All of us, all of us — myself included — will need to time to reflect on how we got to this moment.”

The dramatic decision stunned legislators who have spent the last several years crafting proposals to repeal former president Barack Obama’s top domestic policy victory. Some were near tears exiting a meeting where Ryan announced his decision.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who wrote much of the legislation under consideration on Friday, told reporters the proposal is “Dead. DOA.”

“We’re done with health care this year,” added Rep. Bill Flores (R-Tex.).

Asked what would happen to the ACA, Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla) said, “It’s the law of the land.”

Asked if Ryan had made the correct decision, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), said “As long as they’re willing to go to work Monday.”

Before the decision, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) said that Friday would have been the “first big vote in the presidency of Donald Trump. I think it’s a statement, not just about him and the administration, but about the Republican Party and where we’re headed.”

“So much about political power is about perception. And if the perception is that you can’t get your first big initiative done, then that hurts the perceptions down the road about your ability to get other big things done,” Byrne said.

Ryan pulled the bill just a few hours after visiting the White House to warn Trump that despite days of intense negotiations and sales pitches to skeptical members, the legislation lacked the votes to pass.

Trump had personally lobbied 120 lawmakers, either in person or on the phone, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Friday.

The president had “left everything on the field,” Spicer said.

No matter what happens, the White House did not think that defeat would slow other parts of Trump’s agenda including tax reform and immigration reform, Spicer added.

Vice President Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price also made a last-ditch attempt to win over members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, huddling with them at midday at the Capitol Hill Club, a GOP social hall next door to the headquarters of the Republican National Committee. All three exited the meeting quickly without taking questions.

Signs of trouble across the Republican spectrum were evident early Friday.

In one stunning defection, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) announced at midday that the health care bill is “currently unacceptable” and that changes made late Thursday to placate conservatives “raise serious coverage and cost issues.”

Other members, including Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) — who had met with Trump on Wednesday night — said he would vote against the bill. So did Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), a longtime Ryan ally who represents a competitive Northern Virginia congressional district.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), a Freedom Caucus member, was one of six Republicans who voted against a procedural resolution bringing the bill to the floor on Friday morning.

“You know what? I came here to do health care right,” said Gosar, a dentist. “This is one chance we that can get one-sixth of our GDP done right. It starts with here.”

At the heart of the argument made by GOP leaders to skeptical members: keeping the Affordable Care Act is a worse outcome than passing a potentially flawed replacement. That worked with only some Republicans.

Rep. Joe Barton, a Freedom Caucus member who said he would have voted for the bill, rejected the idea that his caucus was to blame.

“I thought we were constructive,” he said. “Because of the sensitivity of the issue, some of the normal compromise mechanism didn’t quite get us there. That doesn’t mean they won’t get us there some time in this Congress.”

At the White House on Friday morning, Trump had projected confidence as he answered shouted questions following an announcement of a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a revived project that the president said would create jobs.

Asked by a reporter what he would do if the bill fails, Trump — seated at his Oval Office desk — shrugged and said: “We’ll see what happens.”

On Twitter, Trump said that “After seven horrible years of ObamaCare (skyrocketing premiums & deductibles, bad healthcare), this is finally your chance for a great plan!”

When formal debate on the bill began on Friday morning, top leaders used a procedural vote to gauge last-minute support. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was seen conferring with Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.), a key holdout. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) sat in the row behind them cajoling Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), another moderate who has yet to announce what he plans to do.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who chairs the Freedom Caucus, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday about his plans.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo), a caucus member who said before the election that minor losses in the House Republican ranks would increase conservative clout, said he remained undecided.

“I’m examining life experiences,” he said. Asked to explain what he meant, he said he was joking.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a moderate who had expressed qualms as recently as Tuesday, when he was singled out by Trump inside a private meeting of House Republicans, said he had all but decided to vote for the bill.

“I’m not one they should worry about,” he said.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), one of Trump’s most ardent congressional supporters, said he remained opposed to the legislation because it made more political sense to keep current law than to start rewriting it.

“A no vote means we save Donald Trump from a Democratic majority in 2019,” Gohmert said. “If this passes, then Obamacare stays.”

Republican leaders had introduced several tweaks intended to appeal to skeptics on either ideological flank. The amendment looks to appease moderates by adding $15 billion to a flexible fund for states to pay for maternity, mental health and substance abuse programs under Medicaid. That money adds to an existing $85 billion pot of money created by leaders earlier in the week.

The amendment attempted to appease conservatives by allowing states to determine the minimum standards for health insurance plans. It would allow insurers to drop basic coverage, like maternity care and preventative screenings, in order to cut premium rates.

Several members from both groups said the new additions were helpful but did not go far enough to win their votes. Moderate Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) told reporters Friday that he worries the bill still does not give states enough flexibility.

“I think there’s trouble with a significant number,” he said.   (The Washington Post)

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Republican Opposition To Their Party’s Obamacare Replacement Bill Grows

 

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Frank Thorp V
Image: U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, and U.S. Representative Greg Walden hold a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington© (L-R)U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, and U.S. Representativ… Image: U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, and U.S. Representative Greg Walden hold a news…

 

 

Republican leaders launched a full-court press Tuesday to rally support for the party’s newly revealed health care plan as criticism mounted from rank-and-file members and prospects for the legislation appeared uncertain at best.

Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Capitol Hill to sell the GOP leadership’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and met with those lobbing the heaviest criticism at the bill. President Trump met with Republican leaders at the White House to discuss the bill’s passage.

Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price spoke at length during the daily briefing at the White House. And the chairmen of the relevant House committees, Reps. Kevin Brady and Greg Walden, who wrote the bill, held two news conferences (including one with House Speaker Paul Ryan) as they blanketed television news shows to sell the plan.

The push came after many Republicans balked at the details of the bill when it was released late Monday. Some called the proposal “Obamcare Lite” while others questioned whether it would provide adequate coverage, demonstrating the challenges facing GOP leadership faces in trying to pass the legislation.

While the topic is complicated, the math for passing the bill is simple. Republican leaders need to find 218 votes in the House and 50 in the Senate (with Pence available as a tie-breaker). With little to no support expected from Democrats, GOP leaders can’t afford many defections.

Tuesday’s leadership push also comes as conservative groups with deep pockets and millions of activist members have signaled their opposition to the replacement bill, putting more pressure on jittery Republicans.

The complaints coming from Republicans cut across the party’s ideological fissures. Small-government conservatives have criticized it as another version of Obamacare. They say that the age-based tax credits to help people purchase health insurance are no different from the income-based subsidies currently offered through the Affordable Care Act.

“This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for. It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said, adding that it was a “missed opportunity” to go big and bold.

What also concerns these conservatives, many of whom are members of the tea-party minded Freedom Caucus, is that it’s not a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, noting that it keeps in place the Medicaid expansion until 2020 and doesn’t actually get rid of the Obamacare exchanges. And they see little evidence that it will actually lower health care costs.

“Our plea: Repeal and replace with a patient-centered, doctor-centered plan,” said Rep, Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and member of the Freedom Caucus, which has a membership of about 40 Republicans. Some of these conservative members have authored their own replacement bill, and they want it introduced alongside the House leadership bill.

On the opposite end of the Republican spectrum, several members of the Senate have expressed concerns about the the changes to the Medicaid expansion, which after 2020 will change from an income based requirement to a limit based on population. They say that it is too drastic of a roll-back of the Medicaid expansion.

Four Republicans in the Senate, including Rob Portman of Ohio, who comes from a state that expanded Medicaid, and Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, another state with a large Medicaid population, have voiced their concerns about that part of the plan.

Also challenging passage of the AHCA is the one-year defunding of Planned Parenthood. Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have expressed reservations about that feature. “I don’t think the Planned Parenthood defund should be in the ACA bill that we’re dealing with,” said Murkowski.

But Republican leaders are indicating that major changes to the bill are unlikely, even though President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that the health care bill is out “for review and negotiation.” But it’s unlikely that any negotiation for changes will occur.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. and a member of Republican leadership, said that the Republican opposition is “leverage.”

“Everybody right now is trying to leverage their position … but when push comes to shove, it’s going to either be a vote for a status quo or a vote to repeal this and to a better way,” Thune said. “We have a difference of opinion right now but I think before this is all said and done consensus will emerge.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee will debate the bill Wednesday, likely the only window for any altering the bill, and that would likely amount to small tinkering, not structural changes.

Chairman Brady, head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, defended the bill as taking conservative principles but he also put down a marker for critical Republicans.

“As Republicans we have a choice: We can act now or we can keep fiddling around and squander the opportunity to repeal Obamacare and begin a new chapter,” Brady said.

But some Republicans are holding out hope that President Trump will be on their side.

“Everyone wonders. We’re all waiting to hear that,” said Rep. Dave Brat, R-Virginia, when asked if Trump is on the same page as Speaker Ryan and and the authors of the bill. “I haven’t heard him come down in thunder in approval on this.”

The president called it a “wonderful” bill in a Tuesday morning Tweet, but also noted it was out for “review and negotiation.

Republicans are also taking a beating for releasing a bill without an official score on how much the bill will cost. They say the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office will release a budget outlook before it comes before the House floor.

“I would want to know the score, you know, what is the coverage and what is the cost, absolutely,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana. “I’m trying to be diplomatic.”

Influential conservative groups have also sharply criticized the bill. The Charles and David Koch-backed groups Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners came out against it because of the tax credits but also because of the penalty for people who don’t purchase insurance. The Republican plan attempts to incentivize continuous health care coverage by allowing health insurance companies to charge an extra 30 percent on premiums.

Hilgemann calls it a mandate for coverage but one where the penalty is reaped by the insurance companies instead of the government, like in Obamacare.

“We’re really focused on telling the story of decades’ worth of work that AFP has done to see real transformative health care reform in this country. What we saw come out of the House last night just falls short of that,” said Luke Hilgemann, CEO of Americans for Prosperity. “This law is broken we need a better solution and what we’ve seen out of Washington so far is not that.”

AFP has been organizing around its opposition to Obamacare for years, using that as its top motivating factor in getting conservatives involved in its organization and to the polls. Their opposition could mobilize its members to pressure Republican lawmakers, further complicating the law’s passage.

And Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation, two other conservative groups with influence among Republican members of Congress, also came out strongly against it. President David McIntosh called it a “warmed-over substitute for government-run health care.”

“The problems with this bill are not just what’s in it, but also what’s missing: namely, the critical free-market solution of selling health insurance across state lines,” McIntosh, who dubbed the measure “RyandCare,” said. “Republicans should be offering a full and immediate repeal of Obamacare’s taxes, regulations, and mandates, an end to the Medicaid expansion, and inclusion of free-market reforms, like interstate competition.” (NBC News)

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Trump’s Obamacare Fight Gone From Total Repeal To ‘Be Careful’ |The Republican News

 

Jane C. Timm

Vice President -elect, 

Donald Trump spent nearly his entire 2016 campaign promising to repeal and replace Obamacare. On Wednesday, weeks away from inauguration, he expressed trepidation about doing just that and urged his fellow Republicans to be cautious in their efforts.As GOP lawmakers begin the process of repealing the President Obama’s landmark legislation, it’s worth taking a look at the eight times Trump has changed his position on Obamacare since announcing his bid for president more than a year and a half ago.

These recalculations and shifts aren’t unusual for Trump – he took 141 positions on 23 major issues during his run, and has taken 15 new stances on nine issues since being elected – but it is a particularly illustrative shift in the differences between the rhetoric of a candidate and a leader faced with the realities of governance.

Image: U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appearing at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester© FILE PHOTO: U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign roundtable event… Image: U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appearing at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester

1. Repeal Obamacare. Look to Canada for inspiration.

Two months into his White House bid in August 2015, Trump was asked repeatedly if he still supported the single-payer health care he’d touted in the past. He said America should have a private system but repeatedly praised Canada and Scotland’s socialized system.

“As far as single-payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here,” Trump said. “What I’d like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state…Get rid of the artificial lines, and you will have yourself great plans. And then we have to take care of the people that can’t take care of themselves. And I will do that through a different system.”

2. Repeal Obamacare. Cover everybody.

“I am going to take care of everybody,” Trump told CBS News a month later in September. “I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

3. Repeal Obamacare, but ‘I like the mandate’

During a CNN town hall on February 18, 2016, Trump started to answer a question about how he’d replace the Affordable Care Act with health savings accounts, “which are great,” but interrupted himself to talk at length about how he’s “a self-funder.” When pressed by interviewer Anderson Cooper about what would happen when Obamacare is repealed and the mandate disappeared, therefore allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, Trump said:

“Well, I like the mandate. OK. So here’s where I’m a little bit different. I don’t want people dying on the streets and I say this all the time.”

4. Repeal Obamacare. Replace it with something.

Trump was mocked in the February 25 debate for being vague about how he would replace Obamacare.

“You’ll have many different plans. You’ll have competition, you’ll have so many different plans,” he said, still declining to offer more specificity.

5. Repeal Obamacare. Not everyone will be covered.

His health care plan, released online in March, had far more in common with the kind of boilerplate health care proposals the rest of the Republican party touts than his earlier praise for Canada suggested it might.

It would likely cause 21 million people to lose their health insurance and cost about $270 billion over 10 years, according to the nonpartisan budget advocacy group Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB).

It offers up unspecified amounts of grants to states to replace Medicaid, but it’s not clear how or what those would look like, or how they would cover the millions of people that Trump’s plan lets fall through the cracks. CRFB noted that block grants “could generate a wide range of savings” to the federal budget, but without details on them, it is “impossible to score any savings” from his plan.

6. I do want to keep parts of it, we might just amend it.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said he would be OK with amending Obamacare instead of fully repealing it. He also indicated that he wanted to keep the protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, and the measure that allows parents to keep their children insured until age 26.

“Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced,” Trump said in November in one of his first interviews as the president-elect.

If they do repeal it, he said there would be no gap between the repeal of Obamacare and the replacement of it with something else.

7. Begin to repeal on day one.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence told Congressional Republicans that Trump’s efforts to repeal Obamacare would begin day one. It’s unclear, however, what if any plan there is for a replacement bill.

8. ‘Be careful’ — don’t take the blame!

Shortly after Pence indicated that repeal efforts were in the works, Trump warned Republicans to “be careful” about taking on the bill — and its liabilities — arguing that it would “fall on its own weight.”

NBC NEWS

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Bernie Sanders Uses Oversized Trump Tweets As Floor Prop |The Republican News

Brooke Seipel

Sanders uses oversized Trump tweet as floor prop      © Provided by The Hill Sanders uses oversized Trump tweet as floor prop  

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) brought an oversized printout of a Donald Trump tweet onto the Senate floor Wednesday.

The former Democratic presidential candidate used the prop as a reference as he called on the president-elect to either veto any legislation to cut Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security or admit that he “lied” to the American people.

“Let me quote somebody who I suspect I will not often be quoting,” Sanders said while speaking about planned GOP changes to ObamaCare.

“On May 7, 2015, Donald Trump tweeted, ‘I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.'”

“Now the point is Trump didn’t just say this in passing,” Sanders added, with the enlarged tweet on display behind him, “This was a cornerstone of his campaign. He said it over and over and over again.”

https://twitter.com/Gizmodo/status/816743891118551050/photo/1

Sanders is set to appear Monday at a CNN town hall, where he “will discuss the Democratic strategy for dealing with Trump’s administration.”  (The Hill)

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Rough Beginning For U.S. Republicans In First Day Of Trump-era Congress |The Republican News

Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON – The Republican-led U.S. Congress had a rough start to its first session of the Donald Trump era on Tuesday when a public outcry that included a dressing-down from the president-elect prompted the House of Representatives to backtrack on its plans to defang an ethics watchdog.It was supposed to have been a ceremonious beginning in which lawmakers set plans to enact Trump’s agenda of cutting taxes, repealing Obamacare and rolling back financial and environmental regulations.

With Trump set to be sworn in as president on Jan. 20, Republicans will control both the White House and Congress for the first time since 2007.

The moment was overshadowed, however, by a an uproar over a surprise move by Republicans in the House of Representatives in a closed-door meeting late on Monday to weaken the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which is in charge of investigating ethics accusations against lawmakers.

Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to “drain the swamp” and bring ethics reform to Washington, was not pleased by the timing.

“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority,” he said on Twitter on Tuesday.

<span>Republican members of the U.S. Congress react to Democratic members voting for Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for House Speaker on the first day of the new congressional session in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on. Jan. 3, 2017.</span>© Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS Republican members of the U.S. Congress react to Democratic members voting for Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for House Speaker on the first day of the new congressional session in the House…  

“Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance!”

The ethics office was created in 2008 following several corruption scandals. Some lawmakers have charged in recent years that it has been too quick to investigate complaints from outside partisan groups.

Lawmakers wanted to have greater control of the watchdog, and inserted changes into a broader rules package, set to pass when the House convened on Tuesday.

Even before Trump’s tweet, many House Republicans, including top leaders, had opposed the measure and worried about its ramifications. Trump’s tweet prompted an emergency meeting and a quick change of course by Republicans.

“It was taken out by unanimous consent … and the House Ethics Committee will now examine those issues,” said AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan.

OBAMACARE IN SIGHTS

As expected, Ryan was re-elected speaker on a vote of 239-189. He was first elected speaker in October 2015 after predecessor John Boehner retired following repeated revolts by House conservatives.

The speaker election was part of the ceremony involved in the first meeting of the 115th Congress, as the 435 members of the House of Representatives and a third of the 100-member Senate were sworn in.

Ryan, who kept his distance from Trump during his campaign only to embrace him after his Nov. 8 victory, said Republicans understood from the 2016 election that Americans were dissatisfied with Washington.

“We hear you. We will do right by you and we will deliver,” Ryan said.

Trump has made clear he wants to move swiftly to enact proposals he outlined during the campaign such as simplifying the tax code and slashing corporate tax rates.

He also promised to make good on a Republican pledge to repeal and replace Democratic President Barack Obama’s 2010 signature Affordable Care Act – a law better known as Obamacare.

“People must remember that ObamaCare just doesn’t work, and it is not affordable,” Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday, adding: “It is lousy healthcare.”

In the first step of a process that could take years, Republican Senator Mike Enzi introduced a resolution on Tuesday to provide for repeal of the law.

House Republicans were set to clear the decks later for Obamacare repeal by tucking a measure to prevent Democrats from slowing or stopping repeal legislation into a vote on rules governing House procedures.

But Republicans face a dilemma on a replacement program to provide health insurance to people who do not have a plan at work or cannot afford private coverage.

The White House says the law has expanded coverage for 20 million Americans, including an estimated 13.8 million people who buy insurance on exchanges, many who receive tax credits to make it affordable.

“If Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act they’ll be hastening the demise of Medicare that millions of seniors rely upon for their basic healthcare needs,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a news briefing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not address Obamacare in remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday. He has said his top priorities for the new Congress were dealing with the “massive overregulation” he said had been a brake on the U.S. economy and making changes in the tax code to stop companies from moving jobs out of the country.

Republicans might use upcoming spending bills funding government agencies to try to kill some environmental and banking regulations. Trump also is expected to try to use his executive powers toward that end.

OBAMACARE DEFENSE

Leading Democrats warned of a fierce battle over Obamacare and said they planned to mobilize grassroots support for it. Obama is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with congressional Democrats to discuss strategies for fending off the Republican attacks on Obamacare.

But Senator Charles Schumer, in his first floor speech as the top Democrat in the Senate, said he was ready to work on some issues with Trump.

“If the president-elect proposes legislation that achieves that – on issues like infrastructure, trade, and closing the carried interest loophole, for instance – we will work in good faith to perfect and, potentially, enact it,” Schumer said.

“When he doesn’t, we will resist.”

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told a packed House chamber that Democrats would work with Trump “wherever we can,” including reforming taxes and trade deals.

Pelosi also warned that Democrats would “stand our ground” and fight Trump and Republicans if they attempt to weaken environmental regulations or civil rights protections.

(Additional reporting by Doina Chaicu, Jeff Mason and Steve Holland in Washington and Gina Cherulus in New York; Writing by Richard Cowan and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney)  (Reuters)

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