President Donald Trump called out Senate Republicans on Saturday, once again calling on them to repeal and replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.
In two social media posts made on Twitter, Trump said the Senate “must step up to the plate” and “Repeal and Replace” Obamacare.
“The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace. Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!” Trump wrote on Saturday.
The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace. Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
Trump also criticized Democrats, who he called “obstructionists” with “no ideas or votes.”
“ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction,” Trump wrote. “It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!”
ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction. It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
Trump’s comments come at the end of a week in which the Republicans’ latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act was effectively killed by Republican Sens. Jerry Moran (Kan.) and Mike Lee (Utah) and the Senate leadership’s back-up plan — a repeal of Obamacare without an immediate replacement plan — was shot down by several moderate Republicans.
On Wednesday, Republican senators met with Trump in a meeting in which Trump reportedly heavily criticized the senators for failing to come up with a plan. During the lunch meeting, which included 49 senators, Republicans were told they needed to swiftly develop a proposal that could pass both houses of Congress, reported Reuters on Thursday.
On Wednesday evening, the senators met to resolve their differences, but a resolution failed to materialize during the meeting, which Reuters reported did not include Senate staff.
The Washington Examiner reported on Saturday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still plans to hold a vote next week, regardless of what several senators have been saying about voting against the proposed legislation.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) doesn’t believe the Senate will repeal Obamacare and pass a health care replacement bill anytime soon. Paul offered the sobering update over the weekend during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
When asked if he believes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has enough votes to pass an Obamacare replacement, Paul said he doesn’t believe McConnell does.
“You know, I don’t think right now he does,” Paul said.
“The real problem we have is that we won four elections on repealing Obamacare but [the Senate GOP’s replacement bill] keeps most of Obamacare taxes, keeps most of the regulations, keeps most of the subsidies and creates something that Republicans have never been for and that’s a giant insurance bailout superfund,” Paul explained. “That’s not a Republican idea to give taxpayer money to a private industry that already makes $15 billion in profit.”
When asked by show host Chris Wallace what course of action Republicans should take should they fail to pass health care reform, Paul suggested they repeal Obamacare and its taxes, regulations and mandates then worry about passing a replacement bill later.
“What I’ve suggested to the president…if this comes to an impasse, I think if the president jumps into the fray and says ‘Look guys, you promised to repeal it, let’s just repeal what we can agree to,’” Paul explained. “And then we can continue to try to fix, replace or whatever has to happen afterwards.”
“But the one thing we should do is try to repeal as many of the taxes, as many of the regulations and as many of the mandates as we possibly can,” Paul emphasized, noting that he’s optimistic for compromise to come to Senate Republicans.
Paul explained that he can’t currently support the Senate’s health care bill because it keeps the heart of Obamacare alive, which Paul called the bill’s “fundamental flaw.”
“Mandates on insurance cause prices to rise and young, healthy people then say ‘Ill wait until I get sick [to buy insurance].’ And then the insurance pool gets sicker and sicker — it’s called adverse selection, we also call it the ‘death spiral,’” Paul said. “The Republican plan admits that it will continue.”
“The Republican plan doesn’t fix the death spiral of Obamacare, it simply subsidizes it,” Paul explained.
McConnell over the weekend announced that any vote on a health care replacement would be postponed until Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) returns to Washington. McCain is recovering at home in Arizona after undergoing surgery on Friday for a blood clot above his left eye.
.@RandPaul: “I don’t think Republicans should put their name on this [bill].” https://t.co/rE5W333VUU pic.twitter.com/OMPNg9e78k
Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have announced they won’t support the Better Care Reconciliation Act, Senate Republicans’ plan to replace Obamacare. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), citing improvements in the latest draft of the bill and the inclusion of a modified version of the Cruz-Lee Consumer Protection Option, has indicated he will vote for the BCRA.
With most of the Senate having already made up its mind on the legislation, conservative Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) remains as one of the few who have yet to weigh in, posting on Twitter on Thursday he’s “withholding judgment” on the newest version of the legislation.
I am withholding judgment and look forward to reading it. 2/2
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) July 13, 2017
If Lee chooses to join Paul, who has announced he can’t support this version of the legislation because it keeps too much of Obamacare in place, and Collins, who isn’t voting for the BCRA because she believes there are too many cuts to government funding, then the bill will effectively be dead, regardless of whether other Republicans stand.
On Thursday, when the latest draft of the BCRA was released, it appeared to many as though the addition of the modified Cruz-Lee amendment would be enough to sway both Cruz and Lee, but Lee quickly announced that he wasn’t nearly as sold as Cruz.
At issue is the modification made to the amendment, which the Senate leadership added to the bill at the last minute after Cruz reportedly approached them with a compromise. The original version of the amendment supported by Lee would have allowed health insurance companies to sell any policies they want so long as they offered at least one policy that complied with most Obamacare mandates, including the pre-existing conditions clause and community-rating requirement, which now forces insurers to sell people of the same age policies at the same price regardless of health status (with only a few exceptions).
Lee and Cruz believe this amendment would make health insurance significantly more affordable for many people without pre-existing conditions while still ensuring those with pre-existing conditions had at least one option to purchase health insurance.
The newest version of the amendment keeps that basic framework intact, but makes one important revision: Rather than allow insurers to put those purchasing Obamacare-compliant health insurance plans (these people will most likely have pre-existing conditions) and those purchasing every other type of plan, many of which would be cheaper than the Obamacare-compliant plans, in two different risk pools, all plans would have to be placed in the same risk pool.
What this means is that insurance prices across both plan types would have to be increased by the same percentage, if an insurer chooses to increase prices at all. While this might seem like a relatively minor issue; it’s not. If insurers are required to increase prices at the same rate, the cost of insuring people with pre-existing conditions will continue to be heavily subsidized by people in the market who have maintained continuous coverage, one of the key reasons health insurance prices have grown so dramatically in recent years. Health insurers would also be forced to apply two totally different models to the same risk pool, which some say would be incredibly difficult and costly to accomplish.
By forcing rates for newer, cheaper plans to increase at the same percentage as Obamacare-compliant plans, insurance companies’ risk would be spread out more evenly amongst consumers of every plan type, allowing people with pre-existing conditions to have access to more affordable plans. However, this model would also make it more likely insurance companies or their competitors would constantly create newer, cheaper plans to lure healthier patients away from their current plans as they become more expensive, creating instability in the system over the long run.
Lee has offered no hints as to what his future decision on the legislation will be, but one thing seems almost certain: The fate of the Better Care Reconciliation Act rests in his hands.
As Senate Republicans continue to push their plan to replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, a new hurdle has emerged as one of the primary objections to the plan, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act: alleged “cuts” to Medicaid spending.
While conservative Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have said they are unwilling to back the plan in its current form because it keeps too much of Obamacare in place, moderate Republicans like Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) have said they can’t support the proposal because the projected cuts to Medicaid would be too damaging for millions of Americans that rely on the program.
“That is going to cause a lot of harm, and that’s one of my biggest concerns about the bill,” Collins told CNN.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the proposed Medicaid rollback “crushing.”
“The crushing Medicaid cuts will have an especially brutal impact on rural America, shuttering rural hospitals and an important source of good-paying jobs,” Pelosi said.
Critics from both parties point to a new score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that states the Senate’s bill would cut Medicaid spending by $772 billion over a decade compared to what spending is projected to be under current law as proof of the detrimental nature of the Republicans’ bill.
A closer look at the bill, however, reveals the Republicans’ “cuts” are not, in fact, cuts at all, but rather an attempt to slow Medicaid’s out-of-control growth.
The same CBO report often used to condemn the Republican bill also states Medicaid spending under their plan would increase from $393 billion in 2017 to $464 billion in 2026, an increase of 18 percent, as Fox News noted in a recent report.
Perhaps most disingenuous of all is the suggestion that reduced federal spending on state Medicaid programs is inherently immoral and will lead to impossible-to-fix state budgetary problems.
Under the provisions in the Senate’s bill, states would receive funding either on a per-person basis or as a block grant. States would determine how best to use that money and would prioritize the funds where they are needed most. Under the current system, the federal government pays for a large share of every Medicaid enrollee’s costs. Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is particularly costly; the federal government pays for 90 percent of newly eligible enrollees under the ACA, effectively encouraging states to add as many people as they can to the Medicaid rolls. The Republican plan would incentivize states to create programs that discourage the use of social services and limit abuse, moving millions of people to self-sufficiency.
Nothing in the Republicans’ plan would prevent states from making cuts to other state programs or raising additional tax revenues to cover adding more people to their Medicaid programs. Many Democrats have alleged such a scheme is unworkable because states can’t afford to raise taxes, but relative to federal tax rates, state taxes are very low and the federal government is $20 trillion in debt, with much of that debt coming from programs such as Medicaid.
Conservative senators and analysts have said it’s easy for Democrats and moderate Republicans to point to CBO’s projections, which are almost never correct, and accuse Senate Republicans of ruthlessly slashing Medicaid funding, but the truth is the federal budget is growing at unsustainable levels because of programs like Medicaid and states can and should be responsible for their own social programs, allowing local communities of people to decide what government programs need to be prioritized.
For many conservatives, the BCRA doesn’t go nearly far enough in rolling back Medicaid and many other ACA policies.
“[The BCRA] cuts taxes,” Lee wrote in an opinion article on June 23. “It bails out insurance companies. It props up Obamacare through the next election. It lays out plans to slow Medicaid spending beginning in 2025, but that probably won’t happen. And it leaves in place the ham-fisted federal regulations that have driven up family health insurance premiums by 140 percent since Obamacare was implemented.”
“To win my vote, the Republican health care bill must create a little space for states and individuals to sidestep Washington’s arrogant incompetence, and see if they can do better,” Lee added.
“Recent history suggests they couldn’t possibly do worse,” Lee said.
Paul says he’s concerned the bill could make the current health care situation even worse.
“When you mandate what you have to cover, you increase the price, you price out the young healthy people,” Paul said to CNN on Tuesday, “and the only people left in the insurance market get sicker and sicker. It’s what they call adverse selection.”
“My problem with the Senate bill as it currently exists is that we don’t fix that,” Paul said. “We keep 10 of 12 of the Obamacare regulations, we still keep the idea that you can buy it after you get sick, so I’m concerned that the death spiral of Obamacare may well even get worse with the Republican version.”
Conservative Talk radio host Mark Levin debated Fox News host Eric Bolling on whether it would be better for the country and the president if the promised Obamacare repeal was postponed until after Republicans work on tax reform. The segment ran on The Specialists Friday.
“Do we see eye to eye on this?” Bolling asked.
“No.” Levin answered curtly.
“Or do you want to see something passed, Obamacare repeal immediately?” Bolling continued.
“I’ll tell you why I disagree with you,” Levin replied. “First of all, why do we keep arguing about health care in the context of what the left argues. Let’s say they repeal it. And they give them twelve months advance notice. What do you think’s gonna happen? Insurance companies are gonna create policies for 20 million people.”
“There’ll be new insurance companies that are created,” he explained. “You think they’re gonna leave that money on the table? 20 million people are gonna be on the streets and die in this country? It’ll never happen, we’re a nation of entrepreneurs. That’s number one.”
“Number two,” he continued. “Putting it off isn’t gonna fix it. You think they’re just going to easily be able to slash taxes? That’s not gonna happen.”
“So in other words we should spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure?” Levin added. “I oppose that too. So in other words, how about we take the agenda that conservatives claim they support, open up the health care system, explain to the American people we have to get rid of Obamacare and Obamacare lite or we’re gonna have waiting periods, we’re gonna have rationing, and people with pre-existing conditions and senior citizens, they’re the ones who are gonna be hurt. I have happen to agree with Rand Paul.”
“The answer is not more government.” Levin responded to a later objection. “The answer to the American people is, ‘do you like liberty? Do you like to be able to see a doctor you wanna see? Do you want to see more and different types of policies that aren’t approved by the federal government?’ We’ve gotten away in this country from what made us prosperous and great.”
“Can, I’m sorry,” Bolling interrupted. “Let’s play politics for a second. We got the 2018 midterm elections looming large with the Democrats are saying, ‘go ahead, repeal and replace, we hope you do ‘cuz we’re gonna tattoo you with this the way you did to us in 2010. Why would, why rushing through this with premiums rising through 2018 as the CBO says, why is that good thing politically?”
“I was part of the Tea Party,” Levin explained. “In 2010, we took over the House, in 2014, we took over the Senate. It wasn’t because we wanted to expand Medicaid. And it wasn’t because we wanted to find new government-centralized programs in order to replace a government-centralized program. If they would get on message, push the Rand Paul idea, open up the economy, people would see what would happen as a result of it.”
President Trump tweeted Friday that the Republicans should consider repealing Obamacare now, but postponing replacement for later.
If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
The Republican health care bill has been stalled because of disagreements between those who want a true repeal and what many say is a faction that just wants to get something passed in order to celebrate a legislative victory. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been an outspoken critic of the bill, which he calls”Obamacare lite,” and suggests instead more conservative solutions to the health care problem.
President Donald Trump told reporters asking about the Republican health care bill that he had a big “surprise” in store for them. He made the short comments as he was hosting the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs at the Oval Office Wednesday.
“Does anybody want to see the Oval Office?” he asked the group of professional baseball players, who laughed and answered affirmatively. “We’ll leave them behind,” he said, referring to the press.
Trump: “Health care is working along very well … big surprise … I think you’re gonna have a great, great surprise. It’s gonna be great.” pic.twitter.com/JLXrEdv4FC
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 28, 2017
“And just to do a little official business,” Trump said, addressing the media, “health care is working along very well.”
“We’re gonna have a big surprise with a great health care package,” he told them, “now they’re happy.”
“We’re gonna have a great, great surprise,” he said, walking away as the reporters asked about his revelation.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that he had reached a break through idea with the president of splitting up the bill in order to help it pass Congress. A health care bill drafted by Republicans passed the House of Representatives narrowly, but the Senate decided to draw up their own from scratch.
The bills have been derided on both sides, from conservative Republicans who say it’s merely “Obamacare lite” and doesn’t do enough to repeal Obamacare, to liberal Democrats who say it will literally kill thousands of Americans.
Bette Midler went so far as to equate it to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad gassing his own citizens, while Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said that the House version of the bill would bring “death, pain and suffering.”
Former House Speaker John Boehner offered some praise for President Trump so far, but added that much of what he’s tried has been a “complete disaster.” He made the comments in the question and answer period after his keynote speech at a KPMG Global Energy Conference.
“Everything else he’s done [in office] has been a complete disaster,” he said. “He’s still learning how to be president.”
According to RigZone Energy News, when Boehner was asked about Trump’s first 100 days, he said that international leaders were applauding the president for taking steps to stamp out ISIS, and that he had done well with foreign policy.
But he was less congratulatory about domestic affairs, saying that he did “what he could” with healthcare. Boehner said he had preferred repairing Obamacare than taking Trump’s path of “repeal and replace.”
He said that tax reform was “just a bunch of happy talk,” adding, “I was a little more optimistic about it early in the year; now my odds are 60/4o,” and, “the border adjustment tax is deader than a doornail.”
When asked about the possibility of impeachment, he didn’t give a concrete opinion, saying, “I don’t know why either of these campaigns (Hillary Clinton or Trump) were talking to Russians, but they need to get to the bottom of this.” He decried his former “crazy left wing Democratic colleagues” for “bringing up impeachment talks,” and warned that “talk of impeachment is the best way to rile up Trump supporters. Remember, impeachment is not a legal process; it’s a political process.”
“I think Americans are the luckiest people on Earth. We’re the envy of the entire world,” he said. Boehner did not regret retiring from the speakership, saying, “I wake up every day, drink my morning coffee and say hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.”
The House’s Obamacare replacement bill passed narrowly, but the Republicans in the Senate have indicated that they will be drafting their own bill starting “from scratch.” Trump’s executive order attempts to ban travel from terror-stricken Muslim countries have also encountered legal roadblocks from courts ruling that they were unconstitutional infringements on the practice of religion. The Department of Justice has indicated they will be taking the travel ban fight to the Supreme Court.
Professor Jonathan Gruber, who is the chief architect of Obamacare, attempted to blame the law’s failures on President Donald Trump on Sunday.
During a segment on “Fox News Sunday” where host Chris Wallace noted the recent Obamacare premium hikes and the fact that health insurance companies are dropping from the marketplace, Gruber tried to pin Obamacare’s failures on Trump.
Noting that in Iowa all but five counties have only one insurance company — Medica, who said recently they are considering leaving the Iowan marketplace completely — Wallace said that Iowans, like many Americans, are facing a severe shortage of health insurance options thanks to Obamacare.
But according to Gruber, Trump is the man to blame.
“Look, and whose fault is this?” Gruber said. “Before President Trump was elected, there were no counties in America that did not have an insurer.”
Gruber tried to bury his outrageous claim by moving on, but Wallace wasn’t having it.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait,” Wallace interrupted. “Wait, you’re going to blame the problems with Obamacare on President Trump?”
Indeed, Gruber was. He went on to say that Obamacare was working fine before Trump “undercut” the Obamacare enrollment and renegaded on the “obligations [Obamacare] makes to the insurers.”
“And as a result, premiums are going up and insurers are exiting,” Gruber added.
However, that isn’t exactly the truth. Health care premiums under Obamacare have been going up for years. To make matters worse, and to make health insurance even more unaffordable, plans today come with insane deductibles, making many plans useless.
But it was announced last October that Obamacare premiums would skyrocket an average of 24 percent in 2017, while some states, like Arizona, saw increases up to 116 percent — long before Trump was in the White House or even elected president.
Gruber wasn’t able to make many more accusations before Wallace had to move the segment along.
Still, during the rest of the 11-minute segment, Gruber further blamed Obamacare’s collapse on Trump, saying that Trump’s election last November caused “massive uncertainty” in the marketplace, causing premiums to go up and insurers to exit the marketplace.
He also claimed that before Trump, health insurance companies were making a profit and happy with Obamacare. This, however, is demonstrably false.
Following the House successfully voting to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the American Health Care Act, angry Democrats and liberals took to Twitter to mock Republicans with “things Jesus never said.”
In fact, on Friday and Saturday the hashtag “#ThingsJesusNeverSaid” was one of the highest trending topics on Twitter worldwide. At first, the hashtag was used to mock Republicans for allegedly removing the pre-existing conditions provision in Obamacare.
But the hashtag quickly devolved into broader criticisms of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party as a whole.
Users criticized the GOP for being against refugees and immigration, for wanting to replace Obamacare with a market-based solution, for advocating tax reform, for wanting to build a wall on the southern U.S.-Mexico border, among other current American political issues.
One user wrote: “#ThingsJesusNeverSaid ‘You have a pre-existing condition, I can’t cure you.’”
Another added: “‘Build that wall’ #ThingsJesusNeverSaid.”
Even a Catholic priest added to the rhetoric: “‘Blessed are those whose mercy extends only to those who are like them.’ #ThingsJesusNeverSaid.”
But the hashtag works both ways, liberals quickly learned.
Conservatives, Republicans and libertarians on Twitter were quick to hit back with some statements of their own, mostly focusing on the fact that Democrats and liberals alike generally advocate for abortion, which many contend is murder.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, but before you gestated for nine months you weren’t a human being.” #ThingsJesusNeverSaid
— Andrew Klavan (@andrewklavan) May 6, 2017
#ThingsJesusNeverSaid women should have the right to choose to kill their babies.
— Jeb Sanford (@JebSanford) May 6, 2017
“Sure, you can totally kill babies. No problem.” #ThingsJesusNeverSaid
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) May 6, 2017
“Blessed are the children, unless they are unplanned.” #ThingsJesusNeverSaid
— Craigé Schmuckatelli (@CraigR3521) May 6, 2017
“It’s not a baby, it’s just a blob of cells.” #ThingsJesusNeverSaid
— The Morning Spew (@TheMorningSpew) May 6, 2017
While others added other issues to the mix:
#ThingsJesusNeverSaid It totally counts as compassion if you let the government pretend to care for the poor.
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) May 6, 2017
#ThingsJesusNeverSaid: There are 80 different genders.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) May 6, 2017
“Marriage is whatever you want it to be.” #ThingsJesusNeverSaid
It must be noted that despite the liberal outrage, the AHCA is not yet law. In fact, the Senate has not even voted on the bill yet, and it’s expected they will pass a different version of the law, complicating the law making process.
Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) gave an impassioned speech on MSNBC Wednesday decrying a “cruel” and “craven” Republican health care bill. He was speaking to Chris L. Hayes about the “American Health Care Act” that is scheduled for a House vote on Thursday.
“Just for the moral urgency of this moment,” he told Hayes, “the craven bill that I see coming to vote tomorrow is just cruel and just wrong.”
“To tens of millions of Americans,” he continued, “Republicans, Democrats and Independents, people who deserve more from a nation this wealthy, this rich, they deserve better.”
“So screw the politics,” Booker said.
“This is about people, this is about what’s morally right,” he added. “This is about what we stand for. And this is a president who has lied to people, folks in red states, red counties, who who passionately want to keep their health care. Who were promised better health care, more access, something better than the Affordable Care Act.”
“Well this is clearly not just worse, it’s a death knell,” Booker continued. “I don’t mean to be melodramatic about this, but I’ve seen this when people have to wait to get their health care until the emergency room.”
“This will cost American lives if it ever becomes law,” he claimed. “This will mean death, pain, and suffering to people’s families. So I’m not interested in the politics, this is something that my colleagues, people I respect across the aisle, they just can’t support, for God’s sake, for the sake of our country and what we stand for, they cannot pass this piece of legislation.”
.@CoryBooker on the GOP health care plan: “Screw the politics…this is about what’s morally right” #inners https://t.co/BjuGbKb04g
— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) May 4, 2017
The Republicans’ Obamacare replacement plan has been defeated twice already when they failed to get the necessary votes and went back to the drawing board, but they appeared to be confident Wednesday when they scheduled the vote for Thursday.
President Trump has cited the implosion of Obamacare as the urgent reason why a replacement bill is needed, while Democrats are accusing Republicans of sabotaging former President Obama’s signature bill.
Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney told Bloomberg Friday that the administration offered Democrats a trade on Obamacare in order to begin construction on the famed border wall.
The White House is offering Democrats a dollar-for-dollar deal to fund Obamacare subsidies and the border wall in the upcoming spending bill, according to budget director Mick Mulvaney, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer shot it down, with snark.
Mulvaney told Bloomberg Live on Friday that White House officials have told Democrats they’re willing to fund $1 in Obamacare subsidies for every $1 that’s provided for the border wall as both parties look to avert a government shutdown next Friday.
But rather than take the deal, a spokesman for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) made a response mocking Trump’s motto often repeated on the campaign trail that Mexico was to pay for the wall.
According to Politico he told them that Democrats thought Trump was going to make Mexico pay. He offered a statement about the deal offered by the Trump administration.
“The White House gambit to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans,” he said, “in order to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for a wall that the president said would be paid for by Mexico is a complete nonstarter. If the administration would drop their eleventh-hour demand for a wall that Democrats, and a good number of Republicans, oppose, congressional leaders could quickly reach a deal.”
Trump’s promise to build the border wall has hit its own wall after some Republicans have objected to the cost, which has been estimated to run from $10 billion to as much as $70 billion, depending on the final design chosen.
“We’ve finally boiled this negotiation down to something that we want very badly that the Democrats really don’t like,” Mulvaney explained, “and that’s the border wall. At the same time, there’s something they want very badly, that we don’t want very much, which are these cost-sharing reductions, Obamacare payments.”
Mulvaney explained that they expected the Democrats to come back with a counter-offer, but if they don’t, that it would be a bad sign for what they can expect in bipartisanship going forward.
Illegal border crossings, meanwhile, have dropped precipitously to their lowest point in 17 years, and Trump’s tough rhetoric on deportation is being credited.
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton mocked Republicans for not being able to repeal Obamacare, saying that it was gratifying to see them be defeated in their efforts.
She made the comments to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times at Tina Brown’s eighth annual Women in the World Summit in New York City.
“The commitment to hurt so many people that his administration,” Clinton told the audience, “this White House, seems to be pursuing – you know there are so many examples in just the first hundred days.”
“And then of course what they did or tried to do to the health care bill,” she explained, “which I did, I will confess to this. Having listened to them talk about repeal and replace for eight years, or seven years now, and they had not a clue what that meant. They had no idea.”
“I don’t know that any of them even read the bill,” she mocked, “read the law, understood how it worked. It was so obvious. And y’know, health care is complicated. Right?”
“And so, they don’t know what to do,” she concluded to applause. “I do admit that was somewhat gratifying.”
The Obamacare replacement bill by the Republicans was called the “American Health Care Act,” but many referred to is as “Obamacare lite” because they believed it didn’t repeal enough of Obamacare’s destructive policies.
Hillary Clinton: “I don’t understand the commitment to hurt” people that the Trump administration is displaying https://t.co/I4b2ezyUVz
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) April 6, 2017
The GOP replacement bill was defeated when the House Freedom Caucus of conservative Republicans refused to back it. After the sponsors of the bill changed it to meet some of their demands, it lost support from moderate Republicans, and was pulled from a vote.
Trump has since said he’ll turn to moderate Democrats to get a bill passed, but Freedom Caucus allies believe he is bluffing in order to negotiate for his political objectives.
President Trump appears to be putting the blame of the failure of the “American Health Care Act” that he backed on the Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is pushing back. Amash told reporters that the president acted like a fifth-grade child Thursday.
“Most people don’t take too well to being bullied,” he told reporters, laughing.
“Do you think this is an actual negotiating tactic by the president,” a reporter asked, “though, or do you think, is this a constructive way to do it?”
“I mean it’s constructive in fifth grade,” Amash answered after carefully considering the question. “It may allow a child to get his way, but thats not how our government works.”
Amash was responding to recent tweets by the president attacking the Freedom Caucus as being the culprit behind the failure of the health care bill that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) developed to fulfill campaign promises to “repeal and replace” an ailing Obamacare.
Trump took to Twitter to blame the group and make what appeared to be a threat to unseat them in the 2018 midterm elections. Some Trump allies, like Newt Gingrich, blamed the GOP leadership and especially Ryan for presenting a weak bill and not allowing enough input from dissenting voices.
Amash responded earlier by tweet as well, saying, “It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump. No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment.”
It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump. No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment. https://t.co/9bDo8yzH7I
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 30, 2017
Meanwhile Speaker Ryan said that he could understand why Trump is frustrated, but warned against working with Democrats as that would result in legislation where health care is controlled by the government instead of the patient and doctors.
The bill failed after the Freedom Caucus opposed it for being too accommodating to the legislation it was supposed to be replacing, former President Obama’s signature accomplishment. Supporters of the bill postponed the vote for one day to change the bill, but after finding that it was losing support from moderate Republicans, they abandoned the effort altogether.
Trump has said his new strategy was to let Obamacare collapse and “explode” on its own in anticipation of Democrats coming to him for a deal to escape the political backlash.
Amash has been a critic of Trump before this latest altercation, most notably when he called on Trump to “drain the swamp” of his own foreign entanglements.
Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer agreed with President Trump that it would be much easier to strike a deal on repealing Obamacare in the coming months, when the legislation begins to implode more.
“I don’t think there’s a reason why it has to be pronounced dead,” Krauthammer said about the repeal effort. “The president had an ultimatum, he decided he would stick to it, he decided that as a result, he would not be involved. That’s fine.”
“But it still an open question whether the Republicans in the House and in the Senate can negotiate among themselves,” he added. “They were not that far apart.”
“And then, you know I’ve been advocating this other alternative,” he explained, “where you abandon the restrictions that are imposed by the reconciliation process, meaning you stuff the bill with all the kinds of stuff you were gonna add later, stuff that would appeal to the Freedom Caucus. And you put that in the bill and you toss it over to the Senate. And if Senate Democrats want to filibuster, fine.”
“So I think there are several options, I don’t think they are that far apart,” Krauthammer continued. “I think it’s perfectly reasonable that they could negotiate a deal among themselves, and I do think that in the Fall, when Obamacare’s problems are really going to come to the surface, again, spiking premiums and deductibles.
“And it gets worse every year,” he concluded. “There’ll be less nostalgia for Obamacare than you have found in the current debate.”
This mirrors Trump’s plan he outlined in remarks after the bill’s failure where he said he would allow the former president’s signature legislation to continue and “explode” on its own. He would then expect that Democrats would come asking to make a deal in order to escape the political damage from rising premiums and other costs.
Trump ally Newt Gingrich blamed Speaker Ryan (R-Wisc.) for the bill’s failure, while others passed the blame onto the House Freedom Caucus of conservative Republicans who rejected the bill for being far too lax on repealing Obamacare.
Rep Mo Brooks, a Republican from the 5th Congressional District in Alabama, has filed a bill simply titled the “Obamacare Repeal Act,” and it contains just one sentence.
The bill simply reads:
“Effective as of December 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111–148) is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.”
No really. That’s it. You can see for yourself below.
Obamacare Repeal Act by pgattis7719 on Scribd
“If the American people want to repeal Obamacare, this is their last, best chance during the 115th Congress,” Brooks said. Those Congressmen who are sincere about repealing Obamacare may prove it by signing the discharge petition.
“At a minimum, the discharge petition will, like the sun burning away the fog, show American voters who really wants to repeal Obamacare and who merely acts that way during election time,” he added.
Books, a member of the House Freedom Caucus that opposed the GOP healthcare plan – which he called Obamacare 2.0 – had announced Friday that he would be submitting such a bill as soon as his staff finished drafting it.
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) explained on Fox News Saturday that the attitude of GOP leadership and the White House following their failure to replace Obamacare on Friday is unacceptable.
Detailing how Obamacare has hurt the majority of Americans, especially the elderly, on “Fox and Friends Weekend,” Gohmert said that it appears the GOP leadership’s current strategy is “we’re gonna hurt our elderly folks a little more, but don’t worry.”
Gohmert, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said the GOP Obamacare replacement — which was widely criticised for being a watered down version of Obamacare — was “based on a lie.”
According to Gohmert, this was the lie: “We can’t do what you guys want to do because the parliamentarian won’t allow us to do it. Now, we can’t check with the parliamentarian until we pass the bill in the House, send it to the Senate, and then the parliamentarian can rule.”
“The parliamentarian never rules! That’s a lie!” Gohmert exclaimed.
Gohmert said that the House Freedom Caucus was told that language repealing Obamacare regulations such as the “essential health benefits” could not be included in the House bill because it would endanger the Senate’s ability to pass it with a 51-vote simple majority. He explained that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said that Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough could rule to strip the bill of those measures before a Senate vote and that’s why they couldn’t be included in the bill.
“But they never checked with the parliamentarian,” Gohmert said. “[Sen.] Mike Lee checked and it was all fine.”
When asked by Fox host Brian Kilmeade if he has lost confidence in Ryan as the GOP leader, Gohmert said he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know. We have to learn from this disastrous mistake that was based on something that … they told the president repeatedly something that was not true,” Gohmert said.
“This was a bad bill because we read it, we knew what was in it, too many people did not,” he concluded.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he was still optimistic for the repeal of Obamacare after being one of the foremost critics that helped defeat the GOP replacement bill Friday. He also talked about how he encouraged the Freedom Caucus to defeat the bill by using tips from President Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal.”
He made the comments to Eric Bolling on Fox News.
“I want to show our audience a little piece of tape from earlier in the week,” Bolling said, “where you actually went to the House Freedom Caucus side, and I guess you were teaching them the ‘Art of the Deal.’”
“I brought you all a gift tonight,” Paul said to the Freedom Caucus. “‘The Art of the Deal.’ I do think it’s important as we go into this that we realize we have enormous power, actually you guys, have enormous power if you stick together. I put up a quote from the Art of the Deal that I thought was appropriate. ‘The worst thing you can possible do in a deal is to seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.’”
“And so,” Bolling asked, “is the lesson to be learned here that don’t accept the first deal, but bring another one?”
“Well, these were Donald Trump’s words,” Paul answered. “Don’t be desperate to make a deal. But at the same time, what I would add to that is that we are open to making a deal and we still are open. Conservatives across the country want to repeal Obamacare.”
“Unfortunately, as the House leadership brought this forward,” he explained, “they brought repeal and replace with Obamacare lite. Nobody ran on that, and no conservative across the land wants it. We could start over with repeal as the basis, and actually some of the ideas, look I love the fact that Speaker brought up the association plans last week.”
Paul also explained what he called, “one of the most unreported stories of the week,” that could push Republicans closer to repeal.
You know I think the Freedom Caucus wants what all conservatives want, and that is a repeal of Obamacare that ultimately lowers the price of insurance for people. If you look at the number one problem of Obamacare, it’s the people in the individual market go out to buy insurance, and the premiums are soaring through the roof, that’s the real problem.
And that’s why what I promoted as the number one replacement is letting people join buying groups. And one of the unreported stories of this week is the House of Representatives actually passed my replacement version or a similar version, for letting people join buying groups, or co-ops to bring prices down.
“What I’m advising Senator McConnell and the leadership is,” he concluded, “that bill should be brought up next week. This is a bill that is a big part of replacement. We should bring it up next week and see how the Democrats respond to that.”
Trump said in remarks from the White House that he was moving on to tax reform and would allow Obamacare to collapse. Rather than reach out to Democrats on a bipartisan basis, he said they would run to him when they saw how former President Obama’s signature bill would continue to implode and hurt Americans.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday after the bill was defeated that Democrats were willing to work with the president to fix Obamacare, but only if they gave up on repealing it.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted Trump’s incompetence over the GOP health care bill’s implosion, but said that Democrats were willing to work with him to fix Obamacare – as long as repeal was off the table.
“There were two problems,” he explained to Wolf Blitzer on CNN Friday, “two reasons this failed, that President Trump, once is incompetence.”
“I’ve never seen such incompetence,” he added. “They put together a bill that doesn’t have the support of so many of their own party. Nobody, hardly anyone on the outside opposed it, AARP, uh supported it, AARP against it, AMA against, hospitals against it, nurses against it. And second, you can’t, and this is a lesson for them for the future – you cannot govern from the hard right. The only people who really benefited were the very very wealthy.”
Senator Chuck Schumer: One reason bill failed, “I’ve never seen such incompetence” https://t.co/RpsHUjHkuG https://t.co/cqzUFS8sol
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) March 24, 2017
Schumer responded to Trump accusing the Democrats of not wanting to work with Republicans on health care in his address from the White House Friday after the bill failed.
“Well it’s a tall tale, another one by President Trump,” Schumer said. “They never reached out to us, they never talked to us, they never said how can we work together to make it better. The failure is of course completely among the Republicans, President Trump and the Congress. They weren’t even trying to get Democrats involved.”
“And now, it’s about time for the president to lead,” he charged, “not to name call, not to blame, but to lead. To simply say people are going to suffer and someone’s to blame, that makes no sense at all. If you’re a real president, you care about people’s suffering and we’re ready to work with the president.”
“Take repeal off the table,” he reiterated. “Let him and Speaker Ryan, Mitch McConnell say ‘we’re not repealing’ and we’ll work with them on improving Obamacare. But in the meantime for the president to do things to make Obamacare worse and have millions people suffer, to make sure it doesn’t work when CBO says it does work, that’s not being president.
Sen. Chuck Schumer on Republicans: “They never reached out to us, they never talked to us” https://t.co/UYpqI3w42L https://t.co/gvrJxT6JsC
— CNN (@CNN) March 24, 2017
Schumer reiterated their willingness to work with the president, saying, “If they take repeal off the table, absolutely.”
“They tried to repeal it, they failed,” he concluded. “If they keep trying to repeal it, we won’t be able to do anything. So of course, we’ll come to them. And it’s about time for the president to act like a president. Not to make people suffer, make things worse by making Obamacare worse, it’s a good bill now, he can try to make it better, that’s fine. But this idea, ‘ha ha ha, people will suffer’ that is not what a president’s supposed to be. We’re not gloating that they failed. We’re sad that they won’t work with us to improve Obamacare.”
Sen. Schumer: If they take ‘repeal’ off the table, we will work with GOP on unified health bill https://t.co/Rlqf2v2DTp
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) March 24, 2017
The “American Health Care Act” legislation from the Republicans was postponed after objections from the Freedom Caucus on Thursday seemed to tank its chances of being passed. After making changes to accommodate those on the right, the bill lost votes from moderate Republicans, precipitating it being pulled altogether Friday.
As the drama heightened over the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill Thursday, President Trump told the Republican holdouts that he was done negotiating, and that if this bill didn’t pass on Friday, they would be “stuck” with Obamacare. Dana Bash reported the exchange to Anderson Cooper on CNN.
“It’s unclear if they have the votes,” Bash said, “but they’re gonna move ahead and roll the dice and hope that that pressure’s enough of people on the fence, or naysayers, to vote yes.”
“This is what I’m told that the budget director,” she continued, “that the president’s budget director, a former member of the Freedom Caucus, a conservative caucus that forms of people that are holding out. Mick Mulvaney told Republicans behind the doors behind me, he said that the president wants a vote tomorrow, and is moving on after this vote regardless of what happens.”
A source from within the room told Bash that if the bill doesn’t pass, President Trump said “he is moving on, and they will be stuck with Obamacare.”
“That is an ultimatum that the White House is giving their fellow Republicans in the House, trying to push this along,” Bash concluded.
Bash said that she spoke to Trump top aide Steve Bannon, who was at the meeting and told her, “the president wants a vote tomorrow, there will be a vote tomorrow, and that he’s confident he will be successful at the end of the day.”
WH, Paul Ryan tell House GOP they’re done negotiating before Friday’s health care vote https://t.co/pgpuiHWrcA https://t.co/1Rjfrn9heM
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) March 24, 2017
Freedom Caucus members have criticized the bill from the GOP leadership as being far too soft on repealing Obamacare, saying that it leaves the “scaffolding” in place of former President Obama’s signature bill. President Trump has backed the bill completely, saying that it reflects his guidance from his promises on the campaign trail to the American people.
Charles Krauthammer opined recently that if the bill didn’t pass that it would threaten Trump’s entire presidency. Meanwhile, a Freedom Caucus representative warned that if it passes that Trump will be a one-term president.
Conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch are backing a last-minute million dollar gambit to try to push the Republican Obamacare replacement bill into oblivion.
The effort against the bill will hold millions in campaign donations but will only release that money to Republicans who vote against the replacement legislation that President Trump has backed.
The advocacy groups helmed by Charles and David Koch have unveiled a new pool of money for advertisements, field programs and mailings that would exclude those who vote for the health care bill they oppose on Thursday. The effort, which they described as worth millions of dollars, is an explicit warning to on-the-fence Republicans from one of the most influential players in electoral politics not to cross them.
Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips explained that the bill isn’t doing enough to actually repeal Obamacare, something many Republicans ran their campaigns under, and a promise Trump made repeatedly during the presidential election.
“We want to make certain that lawmakers understand the policy consequences of voting for a law that keeps Obamacare intact,” he said. “We have a history of following up and holding politicians accountable, but we will also be there to support and thank the champions who stand strong and keep their promise.”
The Kochs have been openly critical of Trump, so it comes as no surprise that they would oppose a bill many on the right say is too compromising and allows too much of the Obamacare “scaffolding” to remain in place while changing some minor features to call it a repeal.
Charles Koch had even likened Trump’s suggested Muslim ban to the policies of the Nazis, and prior to the election the Kochs had refused to put money into the presidential campaign, choosing instead to support congressional conservatives.
Trump referred to their snub in a tweet that criticized the philanthropists:
I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2015
I turned down a meeting with Charles and David Koch. Much better for them to meet with the puppets of politics, they will do much better!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2016
The “American Health Care Act” has been excoriated by the House Freedom Caucus for the same reasons, with Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) even calling the bill “Obamacare Lite.” The bill suffered a blow when the Congressional Budget Office concluded some politically damaging estimates of its effects that led to House Minority Leader Pelosi calling it “immoral” and “indecent,” while Trump ally Newt Gingrich said the office should be abolished.
The GOP’s battle with the Obamacare repeal act has been an up and down struggle between not just Democrats, but itself.
However, many doctors have taken to operating outside of the bounds of control from both the government, and insurance companies. It’s called “direct primary care,” and it allows doctors to establish clinics that run solely on the loyalty of their patients.
The way these clinics work is that a doctor – or group of doctors – will create a clinic that focuses on primary care, and charges its customers a monthly fee that covers all of the basic medical necessities. This allows doctors to charge far less for not just tests and checkups, but medications as well. The best part? No insurance is required. A $50 monthly fee is all it takes.
This is good for those who do not want to pay the exorbitant amounts for co-pays or insurance. Many, especially those without greater medical needs, may turn to direct primary care as a more cost-effective way to deal with basic care such as blood work, check-ups, or prescriptions, without the red tape involved with insurance plans.
According to Business Insider, doctors are saying that getting these clinics started isn’t cheap, and they’re not making as much as they normally would in regular hospitals, however the effect of having a more direct relationship with their patients – and their wallet – gives the doctors more time to focus on them.
Going into direct primary care often means ditching the reliability of a salary. Because the practice relies on membership fees, the more patients who sign on, the more money that can be made. Practices cap their number of patients at anywhere from 300 to 1,000.
And it’s not exactly cheap to get started. Dr. Vance Lassey, who runs Holton Direct Care in Holton, Kansas, took out a loan to start his practice and spent time renovating a 750-square-foot space he rented from a friend at an industrial park. He picked up a lot of old equipment from a nearby nonprofit hospital and surplus stores. For his in-house pharmacy, Lassey took mismatched cabinets and refinished them so they matched.
Keeping his costs low helped Lassey break even within four months of opening his practice. Still, he’s not earning as much as he used to when he worked at a hospital and had only five to 10 minutes with a patient — a lot less time than he gets to spend with his patients now.
“I am making a profit, I have more free time, and I can practice properly,” he said. “It’s worth it to me.”
As the practice gains steam, politicians have been looking into it. As it stands, the consensus seems to be getting positive reactions on all sides of the aisle.
Libertarians see direct primary care as a free-market solution to healthcare, and legislation at the state level has gained support from Democrats and Republicans alike. And direct primary care is on the radar of Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who while he was a member of Congress introduced a plan that would allow HSA funds to pay for direct primary care.
It should be noted that this kind of practice should be confused with actual insurance. Any major accidents or medical needs that would be outside the ability of the clinic would still require the attention of a regular hospital with the use of your insurance plan. However, these clinics allow those with insurance to get around large copays.
As it stands, the practice of direct primary care is still evolving in both the clinics, and in Washington, but in the muck and mire of healthcare politics, the free market is managing to find a way to break new ground in the field with these doctors who are willing to take a chance with this capitalist approach.
Mike Lee, the Republican senator from Utah and Tea Party favorite who for years advocated for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, says he will not vote for the American Health Care Act, the legislation proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and backed by President Donald Trump.
The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on the bill, but it’s unclear whether Republicans have the votes to get it through the lower chamber.
A number of House Republicans have said they will not support the bill because it amounts to “another entitlement” or “Obamacare Lite.” Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) ripped the legislation in a tweet Monday, saying he couldn’t recall a more “universally detested” bill since first being elected to Congress in 2010.
And Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told TheBlaze last week that GOP leadership realized “they’ve got problems” when it came to garnering the support the Freedom Caucus members, such as himself.
Meanwhile, Trump and members of the House GOP leadership insist they have the votes to advance the legislation.
But the legislation will likely face an uphill battle in the Senate, as well — both from from Tea Party members and more moderate senators.
“I promised the people of Utah I would do everything I can to repeal #Obamacare. The House bill does not do that. I am a no. #FullRepeal,” Lee tweeted.
I promised the people of Utah I would do everything I can to repeal #Obamacare. The House bill does not do that. I am a no. #FullRepeal
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) March 21, 2017
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called the bill “Obamacare Lite,” suggesting he would not support it either. Paul has introduced his own bill in the Senate that would repeal Obamacare but not replace it.
“[After repeal] we can have a separate vote on replacement legislation that will deliver lower costs, better care, and greater access to the American people, Paul said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a moderate Republican from South Carolina, voiced opposition to the current bill. Instead, Graham suggested what he called “collapse and replace.”
“What I would suggest,” Graham told TheBlaze last week, “is if we can’t improve the House bill … that we let this program, designed by Democrats exclusively, voted on by Democrats exclusively, fail, and challenge Democrats to help clean up the mess they created.”
“That’s the only way you’ll get a bipartisan result is collapse and replace,” Graham said.
California Sen. Kamala Harris (D) took to her Twitter account Saturday to share her view that health care is not a “privilege” but rather a “right.”
“Here’s what I believe: health care is a right, not a privilege. RT if you agree,” she tweeted.
Here’s what I believe: health care is a right, not a privilege. RT if you agree.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) March 18, 2017
The tweet comes as the nation continues to debate which direction the health care system in America should go. Republicans recently introduced a bill to replace Obamacare. They have pledged to replace Obamacare with a market-based solution.
Democrats, on the other hand, continue to push for a health care system similar to the socialist systems found in Europe. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) regularly pushed for a single-payer, Medicare-like system.
Still, though, health care is not a legal right in America, like it is in many other first world countries. That’s mostly because simply declaring it a right doesn’t solve the problem of who would pay for everyone to have the care — since health care, after all, costs money.
Harris’ constituents were quick to inform her of that fact on Twitter:
@KamalaHarris @SarahThyre are you going to pay for it? I will send you the bill to my right
— Amy Tarkanian (@MrsT106) March 19, 2017
Guns are in the Bill of Rights, but they aren’t one. The right to have others pay for your health care is not, but is a right? @KamalaHarris
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) March 19, 2017
@KamalaHarris I mean, you also think infrastructure spending is a right so….
— Brandon Whitehill (@bwhitehill27) March 18, 2017
@KamalaHarris @drobinsonjd What kind of health care? How much? Define the “right.” And a right as against whom? States? Feds?
— acaseth (@acasethchandler) March 18, 2017
Health care is between an individual and her doctor. You have no right to take my money go pay for your “right”.@KamalaHarris
— PBS=Pravda Guerrilla (@FoundersSeceded) March 19, 2017
@KamalaHarris Everyone has “the right” to purchase health care. You don’t have the “privilege” of forcing me to pay for YOURS.
— CK (@grannygethealth) March 19, 2017
@KamalaHarris Any constitutional basis for your belief about the right of health care?
— Arqahn (@Arqahn) March 18, 2017
@KamalaHarris @christineyhsd I believe housing is a right, & large bank accounts. How can I get ppl to support my belief? Where’s it end?
— Brent Monday (@Global_Occupant) March 18, 2017
@KamalaHarris @MDaware Please explain who should pay for this right. Or must I provide it for free?
— Pam Bensen, MD (@icd10MD) March 19, 2017
TheBlaze’s Matt Walsh had just one question for Harris: If health care is a “right,” doesn’t it apply to unborn babies, too?
Are the unborn included in this or nah? https://t.co/V1K8Sbprf5
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says he knows how to force Democrats to work with Republicans on a plan to replace Obamacare, but other Republicans aren’t so sure that taking the bipartisan route is such a good idea, given what the GOP promised throughout the 2016 campaign.
During an interview with TheBlaze, Graham recommended his fellow Republicans let Obamacare collapse under its own weight. Graham said that if changes can’t be made to the House GOP health care bill currently being debated in the lower chamber, then Republicans should simply adopt the tactic of pointing the finger at Democrats when Obamacare ultimately collapses.
The House Republicans’ bill — the American Health Care Act — was introduced last week but has been the subject of criticism among many of the more conservative members in the House Freedom Caucus, who have stated publicly that they will not vote for the legislation in its current form.
A number of Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have referred to the bill as “another entitlement” and even “Obamacare Lite.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a separate bill that would repeal Obamacare but not replace it. Paul said the two should be done separately.
“[After repeal] we can have a separate vote on replacement legislation that will deliver lower costs, better care, and greater access to the American people,” Paul said.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) introduced the same bill in the House. Several moderate House Republicans have announced their opposition to the Jordan bill.
Graham said he agrees with members of the House Freedom Caucus and does not support the AHCA legislation in its current form. Graham laid out an alternative approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare, which Democrats passed in 2010 with no Republican support whatsoever.
“What I would suggest,” Graham said, “is if we can’t improve the House bill, and I would urge the speaker to let the Freedom Caucus have the relevant votes, that we let this program, designed by Democrats exclusively, voted on by Democrats exclusively, fail, and challenge Democrats to help clean up the mess they created. That’s the only way you’ll get a bipartisan result is collapse and replace.”
Graham added that by passing the American Health Care Act, Republicans would be doing what Democrats want them to. “They want [President Donald] Trump to fail,” he said. “They want us to replace Obamacare with something that we own. Whether that’s right or wrong, that’s their attitude.”
Graham’s thinking seems to be in line with a comment Trump made at a news conference shortly before taking office in January.
“We don’t wanna own it [health care], we don’t wanna own it politically. They own it right now. The easiest thing would be to let it implode in 2017,” Trump said, according to CNN.
But Freedom Caucus members such as Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) believe Republicans should follow through on the promise they made to the voters in November. Gohmert told TheBlaze:
First, we promised that if you give us the majority in the House, we’ll repeal it. Then we promised, “Oh, well, we have to have the Senate.” We got it. Then we said, “Well, we really need the presidency because we sent [a full repeal bill] over two years ago and [former President Barack Obama] vetoed it.”
And then we get all three and say, “Well, now that we got all three, we’re not going to really and truly repeal it.” So it comes back to wanting to keep our promise. That’s where I am. I want to keep all of us that had been promising when we had the House, Senate and the presidency we would repeal it, and I want to keep us all from being liars.
Gohmert acknowledged that House Republican leaders realize “they’ve got problems,” especially when it comes to earning the support of the Freedom Caucus on the AHCA. Gohmert said that he will not vote for the legislation in its current form.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said leaders are “fine tuning” the health care legislation so that it has enough support to pass the House. Ryan declined to say Thursday during an interview with CNN whether it could pass the lower chamber as is.
“It’s not coming up this afternoon,” Ryan told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “It’s going through the legislative process. That legislative process has not been finalized. That’s, no offense, kind of a goofy question or faulty premise because this goes through four committees. We’ve gone through two so far.”
The House is expected to vote on a revised bill March 23, but it’s currently unclear how that legislation will differ from the current document.
If the bill passes next week, it will advance with no support from Democrats, something Gohmert said he’s OK with.
“I would love it if Democrats recognized that Obamacare was a problem and it caused them the loss of a majority and it caused them losses in statehouses all over the place. I would love for them to recognize that so we could repeal it in a bipartisan manner,” Gohmert told TheBlaze.
“It seems to be a matter of pride. ‘Gee, we passed it without any of your votes.’ So if it takes repealing it with all Republican votes, that is fine,” he said. “But then I think you will see a much more open process — we certainly better — as we try to reform health care and get it back to a healthy way to treat people again.”
Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C., explained to TheBlaze that having bipartisan support on health care legislation would mostly produce negative outcomes. Cannon said that if there is bipartisan support among Republicans and Democrats, the bill “will look more like Obamacare” than whichever bill Republicans might have passed on their own.
“And while you may then have a bipartisan coalition support certain parts of Obamacare, and that would tend to give those changes more political durability, you’ll also have to ask, are they good changes? Would they actually deliver stability in the market so that insurance companies are not afraid of entering the market?” Cannon asked.
Humana health insurance company announced it will withdraw from the Obamacare exchanges altogether. Another major insurer, Aetna, recently announced plans to withdraw from all but four state exchanges. Both companies cited multimillion dollar losses as their reasons for doing so. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said he expects other major health insurers will follow suit, possibly leaving some areas of the country with no insurers participating in the Obamacare exchange.
“It’s not going to get any better; it’s getting worse,” Bertolini said last month.
Aetna’s top executive went on to seemingly advocate for Obamacare’s repeal. “The repeal is easy. They can do that tomorrow if they want to,” he said.
“The question is what does the replacement look like and how long does it take to get there,” Bertolini added.
The White House and Republicans are on the defensive about the Obamacare replacement bill after the Congressional Budget Office report showed millions would become uninsured, but the administration’s own estimate was even worse.
According to Politico, the Office of Management and Budget reported their estimate of Americans who would end up without health insurance under the Republican plan, and it’s 2 million worse than the CBO estimate, which the White House criticized heavily.
“Twenty four hours after the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Republican plan to replace Obamacare,” Bret Baier reported on Fox News, “White House officials said the CBO report just does not add up.”
Fox News’ White House correspondent John Roberts added, “The Congressional Budget Office should stick to dollars and cents, and not try to project people or outcomes. That’s the message from the White House today as the staff here pushes back against the finding that 24 million people would love coverage under the proposed new health care plan.”
“The White House has criticized the CBO for not taking into account phases two and three of the overall plan,” Roberts continued, “which aid to lower the cost of insurance and prescription drugs. The phases two and three haven’t been crafted yet.”
“How are they supposed to take into account something that doesn’t yet exist?” Roberts asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during a press briefing.
“Well I think that’s a question for the House to offer,” Spicer deflected. “There are constraints that are put on the CBO in terms of what they can’t consider. But I think the point that we want to make and it came up yesterday in the briefing is if members are going to base their vote off a score, they need to understand the totality and the comprehensive nature of the entire program.”
“Trumpcare is a wreck,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), “and we all knew that before the Congressional Budget Office released its surprisingly scathing score last night.”
Schumer mocked how no one wanted to take credit for the replacement legislation, saying, “No one wants to claim this bill, if it’s so good, why aren’t they rushing to have their names on it? Trump wants to call it Ryancare, Ryan wants to call it Trumpcare, it’s classic Abbot and Costello.”
But the administration denied that the OMB assessment was meant to be a true representation of the effects of the bill, but was instead an attempt to predict what the CBO report would surmise.
White House officials late Monday night disputed that the document is an analysis of the bill’s coverage effects. Instead, they say it was an attempt by the OMB to predict what CBO’s scorekeepers would conclude about the GOP repeal plan.
“This is not an analysis of the bill in any way whatsoever,” White House Communications Director Michael Dubke told POLITICO. “This is OMB trying to project what CBO’s score will be using CBO’s methodology.”
According to documents viewed by POLITICO, the OMB analysis intended to assess the coverage and spending outcomes of the legislation.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida announced Tuesday that she would vote “no” on the troubled bill that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) slammed as “immoral” and “indecent.” After the CBO report was released, Trump ally Newt Gingrich excoriated the office and said that Republicans should abolish it for its history of dishonesty and bias. House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the report exceeded his expectations.
President Trump has fully backed the bill, which some say would threaten his entire presidency if it failed to pass.
Newt Gingrich said that President Trump should abolish the Congressional Budget Office when asked what he thought about the CBO report about the Republican “American Health Care Act” meant to replace Obamacare. He made the comments Monday on Fox News with Martha MacCallum.
“I want to get your thoughts on the scoring by the CBO on the GOP health care bill,” MacCallum asked, “Do you like it, or not?”
“They should abolish the Congressional Budget Office,” Gingrich said, implying he did not like the bill. “It is corrupt, it is dishonest, it was totally wrong on Obamacare by huge huge margins. I don’t trust a single word they have published and I don’t believe them.”
“But the head of it is a Trump appointee,” MacCallum objected, “and in many ways I think people miss, people maybe misjudge what they’re supposed to do. I mean their job is to figure out whether or not this is something that can get through on reconciliation. Not to make a judgement about the whole bill.”
“I could care less,” Gingrich answered. “No. They lie, let me be very clear. Let me be very clear. OK, I helped balance the budge four straight times the only time in your lifetime. We fought the Congressional Budget Office every time.”
“When Obamacare came out,” he explained, “they used the architect of Obamacare as their advisor on how to score Obamacare, and their scoring, you go back and look at it, it is a totally dishonest, disgustingly wrong, and it is, that whole thing should be abolished.”
They should replace it by putting it out to bid and having three to five professional firms score these things. Nobody has an exact score, it’s not possible. Even tonight, Dr. Tom Price, the Secretary of Health and Human Services pointed out there are whole sections of this bill they didn’t score.
“So I really do think it’s disgusting,” he concluded. “And I’m really disappointed that the Republicans haven’t abolished the Congressional Budget Office, because it’s so profoundly dishonest.”
.@newtgingrich: “They should abolish the Congressional Budget Office. It is corrupt, it is dishonest, it was totally wrong on #Obamacare.” pic.twitter.com/T2ZclPBN5o
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 13, 2017
The Congressional Budget Office report estimated that 24 million people would lose their insurance coverage by 2024, though many have pointed out that some of those would simply be people who didn’t want insurance and would no longer be forced to have it. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) took the opportunity to slam the Republican bill, while House Speaker Paul Ryan was more upbeat, saying that the report exceeded his expectations.
Trump has backed the Republican replacement bill which Ryan characterized as a “an act of mercy” on the “nightmare that is Obamacare.” Charles Krauthammer opined what many believe – if conservative Republicans defeat the bill for being too watered down, it would be a major blow to the president.
House Speaker Paul Ryan enthusiastically praised the Congressional Budget Office report on the “American Health Care Act,” the Republican bill intended to replace Obamacare, despite many criticizing the bill because of the findings. He made the comments Monday to Bret Baier on Fox News.
“The reaction early on, on the Hill,” said Baier, “it’s a little stunned at the number of people who would be uninsured, saying that 24 million by 2026 would be uninsured, relative to the current law. So your reaction on these numbers and what they mean?”
“Well actually I think if you read this entire report,” Ryan replied, “I’m pretty encouraged by it, and it actually exceeded my expectations. Bret, Tom Price and Mick Mulvaney there mentioned the estimates before were that 25 million people would be on Obamacare today, less than half of them are.
But look at what they said the reason why they think this uninsured would happen – we’re saying that government’s not going to force people to buy something they don’t want to buy. And if we end an Obamacare mandate that says you must buy this government one-size-fits-all plan, guess what? People aren’t gonna buy that.
So of course they’re going to suggest that if we’re not going to make people do something they don’t want to do, they’re not gonna do it. That’s really what’s behind this. What I’m encouraged is, once our reforms kick in, what the CBO is telling us is, it’s going to lower premiums. It’ll lower premiums 10%. It stabilizes the market. It’s a $1.2 trillion spending cut, and 883 billion tax cut and 337 billion dollars in deficit reduction.
“So of course the CBO is going to say,” Ryan continued, “if you’re not going to force people to buy something they don’t want to buy, they won’t buy it. But at the same time they’re saying, our reforms will kick in and lower premiums and make health care therefore more accessible.”
“And by the way the way Bret, I just wanna say one more thing and then I’ll stop talking” he added, chuckling. “This is just part one of a three part plan and that’s why I’m excited. Just this, they say, lowers premiums, stabilizes the market, gives people more choice and freedom. Part two is Tom Price at HHS, brings more choice and competition, lets the states open up markets which will lower prices even more. And part three are the other bills that we will be passing: interstate shopping across state lines, association of health care plans to let people bulk buy insurance nation-wide, medical liability reform. Those will drop premiums even further, and make health care even more accessible, than what CBO is saying in an encouraging way already will.”
.@SpeakerRyan: “If you read this entire report, I’m pretty encouraged by it and it actually exceeded my expectations.” #SpecialReport #AHCA pic.twitter.com/3JQWVugSkC
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 13, 2017
Fox News ran a graphic pointing out what others considered to be pretty bad news for the bill – the numbers that are estimated to be without insurance on this replacement bill.
Ryan added that Obamacare is a “middle of a collapse,” and related those health care insurers that pulled out of the program while outlining how many Americans had only one option for health care. “So put this against the backdrop that obamacare is collapsing, the insurers are telling us the premium increases we got just this year from Obamacare, 25% on average, will be even higher next year. So, this compared to the status quo is far better,” he concluded.
.@SpeakerRyan: “Put this against the backdrop that #ObamaCare’s collapsing…[#AHCA] compared to the status quo is far better.” #SpecialReport pic.twitter.com/KPUdh1blsS
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 13, 2017
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) slammed the bill after the CBO assessment came out, saying that it was “immoral” and “indecent.” President Trump has backed the replacement bill, even as conservative Republicans slam it as “Obamacare lite” for not replacing as much of the original bill that they wanted. Paul Ryan earlier called the replacement bill an “act of mercy” for the “nightmare of Obamacare.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday to discuss congressional Republicans’ plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Sanders hammered the GOP plan, calling it “an absolute disaster” for working-class Americans.
“It is an absolute disaster,” Sanders said of the health care plan, titled the American Health Care Act. “It is a disgrace. And by the way, this really has nothing to do with health care. What this has everything to do with is a massive shift of wealth from working people and middle-income people to the richest people in this country. It is a $275 billion tax break for the top 2 percent. Millionaires will get about $50,000 a year in tax breaks, while at the same time some 5 to 10 million people are going to lose their health insurance. Premiums are going to soar.”
After the interview, Sanders further assaulted the Republican plan on Twitter, again calling it a “disgrace” and argued the plan is nothing more than a tax break for wealthy Americans.
“The Republican ‘health care’ plan is a disgrace,” wrote Sanders. “It has nothing to do with health care. It’s a $275 billion tax break for the top 2%.”
The Republican “health care” plan is a disgrace. It has nothing to do with health care. It’s a $275 billion tax break for the top 2%.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 12, 2017
Under the AHCA, Obamacare-related taxes would end, as would the ACA’s individual and employer mandates. Obamacare subsidies would be replaced with refundable tax credits for low- and middle-income Americans, ranging from $2,000 to $4,000, and Medicaid would be capped and transformed into a per-capita block grant system, freeing up states to implement the programs of their own choosing.
Additionally, the AHCA would keep the ACA’s pre-existing conditions clause in place, continue to fund the Medicaid expansion that has already occurred (while stopping future expansion in 2020) and allow children to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan until age 26.
Sanders’ dire warnings about the AHCA and defense of the ACA seem to contradict with what many health care experts believe about Obamacare: It’s in the midst of a “death spiral,” as an increasing number of insurers continue to depart from the government-run health care exchanges, leaving millions of Americans with fewer health care options than they’ve had in decades.
Health care premiums and deductibles have risen substantially since Obamacare was enacted. The midlevel benchmark plan rose by an average of 25 percent from 2016 to 2017. Further, the vast majority of the people who have gained health insurance since Obamacare passed have been added to Medicaid; they didn’t purchase health insurance. Medicaid rolls have skyrocketed by more than 28 percent since 2013.
Sanders’ rejection of the AHCA has been joined in recent weeks — albeit for entirely different reasons — by leading conservative congressional Republicans.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) called the bill “a stinking pile of garbage” and said he believes the “bill will fail.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on Thursday on Twitter the “health-care bill can’t pass Senate w/o major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don’t get it fast.”
1. House health-care bill can’t pass Senate w/o major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don’t get it fast.
President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Saturday the current efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are going smoothly.
“We are making great progress with healthcare. ObamaCare is imploding and will only get worse. Republicans coming together to get job done!” the president tweeted.
We are making great progress with healthcare. ObamaCare is imploding and will only get worse. Republicans coming together to get job done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2017
The tweet came just two days after Trump delivered a similar message on Twitter, writing on March 9, “Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!”
Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2017
Trump’s confidence in Republicans’ current health care reform efforts seems to contradict the numerous reports that have surfaced over the past week suggesting many Republican congressmen and think tanks are staunchly opposed to the House GOP leadership’s proposed Obamacare replacement, the American Health Care Act.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) called the bill “a stinking pile of garbage” and said he believes the “bill will fail.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on Thursday on Twitter the “health-care bill can’t pass Senate w/o major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don’t get it fast.”
1. House health-care bill can’t pass Senate w/o major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don’t get it fast.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) March 9, 2017
Cotton later added, “What matters in long run is better, more affordable health care for Americans, NOT House leaders’ arbitrary legislative calendar.”
3. What matters in long run is better, more affordable health care for Americans, NOT House leaders’ arbitrary legislative calendar.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) March 9, 2017
In an interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said the AHCA is “Obamacare lite” and would incentivize young, healthy people to stay out of the private health insurance marketplace. Paul also told Cavuto he believes congressmen are “very, very divided” on how to replace the ACA.
The Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Tea Party Patriots, FreedomWorks, and Americans for Prosperity, among many other conservative groups, have also said they do not support the AHCA in its current form.
Trump’s claim about the alleged “great progress” being made on health care reform came just a few days after Trump hosted influential conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at the White House on Wednesday night. Reports issued by The Hill and Newsmax suggest Trump planned on soliciting Cruz’s help in promoting the AHCA to conservative members of the Senate.
Cruz has reportedly said he has “serious concerns about the House bill as drafted.”
The AHCA sailed through its first two obstacles on Thursday, gaining the approval of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee along party-lines.
The legislation’s next hurdle will be the House Budget Committee. If it passes there, it will then be considered by the full Congress.
President Trump said that he supports the Republican plan to replace Obamacare released Monday, saying that it follows the guidelines he set out in a speech to Congress. He made the comments to reporters in a press conference Tuesday.
“Obamacare is in very bad shape,” Trump said.
I believe that if we wait two years it will totally implode, and it’s pretty much imploding now, Steve, when you think. But it’ll implode and people will be like, ‘please help us, please help us,’ and that’ll be the Democrats asking for help. They already are asking for help in the true sense of the word.
Because it’s a disaster, the insurance companies are fleeing, some states are up over 100% in costs, the deductibles are through the roof, you don’t even get to use it. So we’re gonna do something that’s great and I’m proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives and encouraged by members of both parties.
I think really that we’re going to have something that’s going to be much more understood and much more popular than people can even imagine.
“It follows the guidelines I laid out in my congressional address,” Trump explained. “A plan that will lower costs, expand choices, increase competition and ensure healthcare access for all Americans.”
This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor, this will be a plan where you can choose your plan. And you know what the plan is, this is the plan. And we’re gonna have a tremendous, I think, we’re gonna have a tremendous success.
“It’s a complicated process,” the president concluded, “but actually it’s very simple, it’s called, ‘good healthcare.’”
The House Republican bill to replace Obamacare was released on Monday to a lot of criticism from conservative Republicans, principally Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who called it “Obamacare lite” derisively. Charles Krauthammer has said that if they were to defeat the bill, it could severely endanger Trump’s presidency.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) meanwhile, jubilantly described all the features of the bills that conservatives should appreciate, calling it an “act of mercy” for the “nightmare of Obamacare.”
Ryan also guaranteed that he would get the necessary votes to pass the bill in the House.
The introduction of the GOP’s new healthcare bill has raised some definite ire among Republicans and Libertarians alike. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is one such politician who has now seen the bill and expressed his extreme dislike of it, calling the GOP plan “Obamacare Lite.”
According to The Hill, Paul is not letting Obamacare Lite happen without a fight, and he has allies. The libertarian leaning senator is teaming up with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to release their own bill to repeal Obamacare on Wednesday, and it’s highly similar to the one that Republicans voted for unanimously in 2015.
“We voted on this last year, and every Republican voted for it,” Paul said at a press conference alongside his House conservative colleagues. “That’s what we should do again.”
“You have to get rid of ObamaCare completely,” Jordan added.
Paul stated in an interview earlier today that this GOP bill “will not pass,” and that “conservatives aren’t gonna to take it.” However Paul and Jordan face an uphill struggle as GOP leadership, including that of President Donald Trump, seem to believe the bill to be a solid plan.
“We’re going to do something that’s great. And I am proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives,” Trump said of the bill. “It follows the guidelines I laid out in my congressional address. This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor and this will be a plan where you can choose your plan. And you know what the plan is. This is the plan.”
However, he believes that if there is one thing that will unite Republicans, it’s the repeal of Obamacare.
“There’s one thing that has united Republicans in when we won the House, in 2014 when we won the Senate, and in 2016 when we won the White House. This doesn’t divide Republicans, this brings us together, and that is complete repeal, clean repeal,” Paul said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) defended the “American Health Care Act” introduced to replace Obamacare, calling the former president’s signature legislation a “nightmare” that is about to end. He made the comments in a press conference Tuesday.
“What I want to tell my fellow citizens,” Ryan said in the announcement, “is that the nightmare of Obamacare is about to end. That we are doing what we said we would do in this campaign which is repeal and replace this awful law that is crashing.”
Let me say one more thing. Let’s not forget, Obamacare is collapsing. Obamacare isn’t staying. If we did nothing the law would collapse and leave everybody without affordable health care.
“We are doing an act of mercy,” Ryan continued, “that repealing this law and replacing it with patient-centered healthcare reforms that we as conservatives have been arguing for and fighting for, for years.”
Speaker Paul Ryan: “The nightmare of Obamacare is about to end.” https://t.co/vjZqTA0FOq https://t.co/ecV5mBllSc
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) March 7, 2017
“I’m prepared to lead our conference to do what we said we would do in the election,” Ryan said, ostensibly as a way of addressing criticisms that this bill isn’t a full repeal.
We actually ran on a repeal and replace plan. That’s what this is, the repeal and replace plan that we ran on. Now I am intent on making sure we fulfill our promises but I believe in regular order, I believe in going through the process the way it was meant to go through. We didn’t write this bill in my office on Christmas Eve like they did in Harry Reid’s office and then jam it through to an unsuspecting country.
These committees are writing this legislation. These committees will be marking up the legislation tomorrow. And then it goes to the budget committee the next week and then it goes to the rules committee on the floor the week after that, which is regular order.
“So I’m excited that we’re doing this the right way,” Ryan continued in a thinly veiled attack on the Democrats’ healthcare bill, “I’m excited that we’re doing this in plain sight.”
Ryan: “We didn’t write this bill in my office on Christmas Eve…and then jam it through to an unsuspecting country” https://t.co/7mIEtZiDzw
— CNN (@CNN) March 7, 2017
“Let me just give you a list of what’s in here that conservatives should be excited about,” Ryan again addressed criticism from the right.
Number one, it repeals Obamacare. Number two, it repeals the Obamacare taxes, which is a massive tax relief for families for the cost of healthcare. It repeals the Obamacare spending, like the Medicare expansion and the Obamacare subsidies. It repeals the Obamacare mandates on individuals and businesses. It ends funding for Planned Parenthood and sends that money to community health centers.
It has a Medicaid per capita block grant, that’s the biggest entitlement reform anybody has seen here for decades. It nearly doubles the amount of money people can contribute to health savings accounts, that is fundamental part and a crucial part of conservative healthcare policy.
It equalizes the tax treatment of healthcare. I’ve been doing conservative healthcare reform for twenty years. For twenty years, we as conservatives have been arguing for equalizing the tax treatment of healthcare of all Americans so we can have a vibrant, individual health market, so we have choice and competition.
“Look, here’s, there are two ways of fixing healthcare,” Ryan said, laying out what he saw as the philosophical distinction between the GOP bill and Obamacare. “Have the government run it, and ration it, and put price controls. That’s what Obamacare does, that’s what the left wants.”
Or do what conservatives have been arguing for, for years. Have a vibrant free market where people get to do what they want, they buy what they want. Equalize the tax treatment, stop the discrimination in the tax code against people who want to go out in a free market place and buy that health care of their choosing. This does that, this lowers costs, creates competition, and allows choices.
“And the most important thing that this thing does is it takes power out of Washington,” he explained, “it takes power out of the bureaucracy and put its back to doctors and patients where it belongs.”
.@SpeakerRyan lists the reasons conservatives should be excited about #AHCA. pic.twitter.com/nedFno6ZQc
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 7, 2017
When asked if they would have the necessary votes to pass the bill, Ryan very confidently predicted they would. “We will have 218 votes,” he said without pause. “This is the beginning of the legislative process, we got a few weeks. We’ll have 218 when this thing gets to the floor, I can guarantee you that.
.@SpeakerRyan: “We will have 218 votes” to pass Obamacare repeal and replace plan, “I can guarantee you that.” https://t.co/zjCHDhbJ2V pic.twitter.com/3o3PCQ3IAR
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 7, 2017
Republicans released the text of the “American Health Care Act” Monday to immediate criticism from conservative Republicans who called it “Obamacare lite.” This prompted Charles Krauthammer to opine that if they defeated the bill because it wasn’t conservative enough that it could threaten, and even “destroy” Trump’s presidency.
Sen Rand Paul (R-KY) has had something of a tumultuous history with the Republicans attempts at repealing and replacing Obamacare, and now that he’s gotten his hands on it, it would appear that the new GOP healthcare plan – the full text of which you can read here – is not going to make the relationship with the Libertarian leaning senator any easier.
Upon seeing the bill, Paul took to Twitter to voice his – not at all surprised – displeasure about what the bill does. After seeing the guts of the GOP plan, the Kentucky senator has taken to calling the bill “Obamacare Lite.”
The House leadership Obamacare Lite plan has many problems. We should be stopping mandates, taxes and entitlements not keeping them.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
House Obamacare Lite plan keeps Obamacare taxes for another year
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
It keeps Obamacare subsidies but renames them “refundable credits.”
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
Their plan keeps the Obamacare “Cadillac Tax” forever, which is a tax on the best health insurance.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
It keeps individual mandate but makes you pay the insurance companies instead of the government
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
And it keeps insurance company subsidies forever.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
The punchline here is that the GOP isn’t really getting rid of Obamacare, it’s just retooling it a bit and slapping a new sticker on it. Justin Amash sums it all up nicely.
New plan does not repeal/replace; it repackages Obamacare. It’s a political plan that signals retreat and will not reduce health care costs.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 7, 2017
Paul’s history of struggle against the GOP’s Obamacare Lite bill is a storied one, including him predicting the fact that this bill would be a softer version of Obamacare when they refused to let him see the bill last Thursday. Before that, Paul had walked out of a meeting on how to handle the Obamacare replacement process in frustration when Republicans kept insisting on keeping entitlements.
Charles Krauthammer explained that the newly announced Obamacare replacement legislation might lead to the destruction of the Trump presidency unless conservative Republicans fell “on the their swords” and accepted the entitlements involved. He made the comments Monday on “Special Report” on Fox News.
“In the end the Republicans are gonna have to essentially, the conservatives, the ones who are more conservative, are gonna have to fall on their swords,” Krauthammer explained. “This is the signature event for the new administration. If they were to, in the end, eliminate the entitlement and put it down, I think it would destroy the presidency.
There is nothing they could do right now. They’re gonna try a more serious conservative entitlement, but if they were to ask the administration to give, in the end, to fall on their sword on this, I think it would be disastrous on the part of the conservatives.
“They are right now asking for the destruction of the entitlement,” Krauthammer concluded. “I think after what Obama did there is a entitlement that is now accepted. But in the end there’s no way that they’re gonna consolidate a loss of the entitlement.”
Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist appeared to agree, but described the difficult challenge Republicans were undertaking with the Obamacare replacement bill.
“Well there’s no question that this is an important thing that needs to happen before the rest of the legislative agenda goes through,” she added. “At the same time, rewriting one-fifth of the economy and doing it under two months time is completely ridiculous. I mean, Democrats had a year to do it, and even they didn’t do a good job with their packaging together of Obamacare.”
“Anything that involves tax credits is too bulky, too big,” she concluded, “to not spend that amount of time needed to really come up with some good solutions.”
At the end of the segment, Bret Baier went back to Krauthammer, asking, “Do they have the votes?”
“Yes, I think in the end they’re gonna have to have the votes, Krauthammer responded. “And also they’re going to have to concede the fact that Obama created an entitlement. And they’re now gonna transmute it into something different.”
“But the entitlement will stay, there’s no way to ratchet it back, he added. “And the conservatives are gonna have to swallow that in the end, because otherwise it collapses.”
Republicans revealed the text of the Obamacare replacement legislation entitled “the American Health Care Act” Monday afternoon. Vice President had vowed that Americans who liked their Obamacare insurance could keep their insurance under the repeal and replacement policies of the Republican party.
Trump had promised numerous times before the election that he would repeal Obamacare, and make sure that everyone had healthcare, while Democrats said that they would do everything in their power to keep former President Obama’s signature legislation in power. One of Trump’s first executive orders just hours after his inauguration was directed against Obamacare in January.
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), the former California attorney general who was elected to the Senate in Nov., defended Obamacare on Twitter Friday following a story from Politico that outlined a possible GOP health care replacement plan.
According to Politico, the GOP replacement plan seeks to dismantle health care subsides given under Obamacare, in addition to rolling back the Medicaid expansion.
But according to Harris, the Medicaid rollback would be detrimental to Californians because “1 in 2 Californian children depend on Medicaid,” the junior California senator tweeted Friday.
“This plan’s cuts to Medicaid attacks those who need heath care most,” she added.
1 in 2 Californian children depend on Medicaid. This plan’s cuts to Medicaid attacks those who need heath care most. https://t.co/GBRQkFO0st
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 24, 2017
“It’s vital we improve the ACA, not repeal it. More than 5 million Californians are counting on us to stop playing politics w/public health,” Harris said in a second tweet.
It’s vital we improve the ACA, not repeal it. More than 5 million Californians are counting on us to stop playing politics w/public health.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 24, 2017
And it’s those facts that have many concerned. It fact, it wasn’t her mention that Californians may lose Medicaid that garnered attention, but her admission that 50 percent of California children depend on welfare for health care coverage.
Twitter proceeded to skewer Harris over the stat, many pointing out because California is run by Democrats, their liberal policies are responsible for having so many on welfare.
Aren’t you horrified that half of the children in CA are that poor? https://t.co/b7IkCbO12B
— Amy (@AmyOtto8) February 25, 2017
Does 1 in 2 California children depending on Medicaid seem like some kind of California success story to you? https://t.co/NWzS27PrpR
— ConservativeLA (@ConservativeLA) February 25, 2017
@KamalaHarris if 1/2 Californian children depend on Medicaid and government assistance, California is doing it wrong….
— Cut Em All Jack! (@ThePatrick733) February 25, 2017
Medicaid is welfare. Democrats have complete control in CA. Why are half the kids in a blue state so poor? Why isn’t that your focus? https://t.co/4SIlgSHwp6
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) February 25, 2017
Folks, should we be concerned that 50% of California children are on medicaid? Its not just me, right? https://t.co/rzO4AP09f5
— VolForward (@VolForward) February 25, 2017
50% of the children in California rely on Medicaid!?!
That’s a #FAIL by any standard
California Dems deliver poverty on a silver platter https://t.co/aPA6yggAC7
— DJ (@blaubok) February 25, 2017
Not something to brag about that none of the parents in your state can afford to care for their children. Sounds like a problem to me. https://t.co/YTPx9qxu3N
— Paid Hillary Shill (@kiewtga) February 25, 2017
Your state is a failure if 1 of 2 kids is dependent on gov healthcare https://t.co/Sxl2GRT0vV
According to Politico, the healthcare insurer Humana will completely withdraw from the Affordable Care Act exchange program in 2018, leaving a sizable dent in the Obamacare market.
This would make Humana the first major health insurance company to walk away from Obamacare. The company states that it has come to this decision due to the fact that it stands to lose $45 million in 2017 on Obamcare business.
“We are again seeing signs of an unbalanced risk pool based on the results of the 2017 open enrollment period,” CEO Bruce Broussard said in an investor call. “Therefore we’ve decided we can’t continue to offer this coverage in 2018.”
President Donald Trump’s administration is said to soon introduce new rules that would convince insurers to stick around, however Broussard doesn’t believe there’s anything that could convince his company to stick around.
“We’re really feeling that this organization needs to stay focused on what we do well, and I think what we do well is serving chronic conditions,” he said. “I think it’s going to be hard for us to get back into that marketplace.”
This news comes on the heels of a failed $32 billion merger with health insurer Aetna, who refused to fight a court ruling that blocked the deal on anti-trust grounds. While this has little to do with Obamacare, the nebulous future of healthcare policy made it too difficult to determine a good reason to remain in the program.
In a very funny video posted on the Twitter account of Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), he gives Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) some help preparing for his debate with Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) set for Tuesday evening on CNN.
“Hey @SenTedCruz,” Lee writes, “if you need help preparing for your #Obamacare debate tonight with @SenSanders, you can borrow this book,” with the debate hashtag “CNNDebateNight.”
The video shows a the first person perspective of Senator Lee climbing a ladder on a library of books and finding a particular tome, entitled, “the Benefits of Socialism.”
Lee takes it down to his desk, and flips the pages, revealing:
There is nothing printed on the pages, implying that that there are no “benefits of socialism.”
The debate between Senator Cruz and Senator Sanders will be conducted Tuesday night on CNN and will focus on Obamacare, a hot topic given that the Trump administration vowed to repeal and replace Obama’s signature legislation but the promise is hitting some obstacles. The Vermont Senator is well known for his socialist advocacy, while Cruz could be said to be his polar opposite as a champion of free market capitalism and limited government.
Hey @SenTedCruz, if you need help preparing for your #Obamacare debate tonight with @SenSanders, you can borrow this book. #CNNDebateNight pic.twitter.com/hJgC3kNfHW
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) February 7, 2017
Trump’s first executive order upon entering the Oval Office was focused against Obamacare, even as Vice President Mike Pence reassured Americans that if they liked their insurance under Obamacare, that they would be able to keep their insurance. Trump has just recently admitted that a repeal and replacement may not happen until next year.
Responding to a desire by many Republicans to have a plan in place to replace Obamacare immediately after its repeal, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul revealed his vision for what that might look like with The Obamacare Replacement Act (S. 222).
Paul discussed the details of his plan Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” and noted his intention to “legalize the sale of individual insurance” within the framework of the plan.
“One of the key reforms that we will do is, we’re going to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance,” he said. “That means getting rid of the Obamacare mandates on what you can buy. We are going to help people save through health savings accounts, as well as a tax credit.”
According to CNN, the bargaining power allowed to the state and federal exchanges under Obamacare would be replaced under Paul’s plan with a provision allowing “individuals and associations like small businesses to create their own markets.”
“There’s no reason why (a business owner) with four employees shouldn’t be able to join with hundreds and hundreds of other businesses that are small to become a large entity to get leverage to bring your prices down,” Paul told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
The Hill notes that Paul’s plan also offers a tax credit of up to $5,000 per person to use toward the establishment of a Health Savings Account, and would do away with Obamacare’s mandate requiring health insurance coverage. Paul also seeks to abolish the the minimum standards required for insurance coverage, something Republicans agree would allow for cheaper, though less comprehensive, plans.
The replacement of Obamacare has become something of a mystery, with Democrats arguing that the GOP is behind the curve in finding something suitable to fill the void. Republicans have floated the idea they may try to “repeal and delay,” which is to say they may repeal and then spend succeeding months drafting new legislation, drawing criticism from Democrats. The repeal of Obamacare, however, is a much simpler prospect.
Much of that can be handled during the reconciliation process, whereby Republicans in the Senate using a 51 vote majority can sidestep the filibuster on parts of the legislation that relate to the budget, such as any that are expenditures or are implemented as taxes. But some provisions — such as the expanded Medicaid program many states accepted as part of Obamacare — would have to be addressed through new legislation or through executive orders that role back enforcement of those provisions.
Paul did not have an immediate answer for what might happen to those provisions of Obamacare that fall outside of the budgetary rubric, such as Medicaid expansion.
“That’s the big question,” Paul told CNN. “And I don’t think that’s going to be in the replacement aspect.”
President Donald Trump didn’t wait long to get into the Oval Office before signing his first executive order. And as promised, it was directed against the “Affordable Care Act,” the cornerstone legislation of his predecessor, also known as Obamacare.
.@POTUS @realDonaldTrump signs executive order on Obamacare in Oval Office. pic.twitter.com/DISEjrmFm2
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) January 21, 2017
According to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the order asked the states to “ease the burden of ObamaCare,” but he offered few other details on the substance of the order, which was not immediately provided to media outlets.
The official text of the order makes it clear that it is the full intention of President Trump to seek full repeal of the legislation, but in the meantime he will take the steps “to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.”
The second section of the order says that all appropriate agencies should, “exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act” that would impose a burden on Americans.
The order tasks agencies and departments to grant more flexibility to states and create “a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance.”
Trump had promised repeatedly to repeal Obamacare during his presidential campaign but the plan had fallen into doubt after some Republicans were pressured by constituents over worries about losing health insurance. Vice President Mike Pence tried to quell those fears by reassuring Americans that they could keep their insurance if they liked it.
Ed. Note: This post has been modified from its original form to add further details not available at the time of publishing.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence reassured Americans that they should not feel any trepidation about their insurance as President-elect Donald Trump leads Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare in accordance to his campaign promises.
Pence: Obamacare users should have ‘no anxiety’ about losing insurance. “We’re committed to an orderly transition.” https://t.co/YigARz5QeN pic.twitter.com/Ucvbr8VBUi
— ABC News (@ABC) January 19, 2017
In the interview with ABC News, Pence told Martha Raddatz that repealing Obamacare would not be hastily done so as to keep as many Americans insured as possible.
Any American who has insurance today, through an ‘Obamacare’ exchange or through the Obama plan itself, should have no anxiety about losing their insurance. We’re committed to an orderly transition, to a new and better health insurance set of reforms that are going to work for every American, just like the president-elect said.
Pence’s assurance bears a striking resemblance to soon-to-be former President Obama’s repeated promise to Americans that “if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance” on the way to passing Obamacare.
Trump’s promise to repeal Obamacare has experienced some stumbling blocks and glitches as some Republicans have spoken out against the plan without a replacement for those who might lose insurance because of their actions. The President-elect made the blanket claim Monday that he would provide healthcare insurance for “everybody” in the replacement plan.
Despite some Republicans’ objections, the GOP leadership is moving forward to kill the legislation, with Senator Rand Paul (R-Ken.) at the forefront with his own replacement plan. Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, Democrats are vowing to do everything they can to keep Obama’s landmark legislation in power.