Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently assured viewers of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that President Trump has what it takes to close the deal on Republican’s alternative to Obama Care.
That same day Trump spoke at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky where he announce a new slogan for his administration:”Promises Made. Promises Kept.”
Events in Washington over the last few days make it plain that replacement of Obama Care and lowering taxes will be the first major test for our new President.
It is to be expected that Democrats are opposed to anything that dismantles and replaces Obama’s legacy. Even before moderate Republicans had a chance to unveil their proposed Patient Freedom Act the opposition was on the attack.
“Millions of Americans”, said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), “would be kicked off their plans, out-of-pocket costs and deductibles for consumers would skyrocket, employer-based coverage for working families would be disrupted, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, would be gutted.”
But Democrats are not the President’s problem when it comes to keeping his promises. For the first time in years, Republicans control both the legislative and executive branch of government. The challenge now for Trump is to find a way to rally his own party behind the health care plan with his name on it.
House and Senate Republicans have unveiled an aggressive plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act within the next three months. However, disagreement over two Senate bills introduced by Republicans shows the stark divide within the party.
A bill introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) looks for middle ground in replacing ObamaCare but both sides of the aisle have already expressed harsh opposition to it.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) praised Cassidy’s Patient Freedom Act (S. 191) calling it a common sense alternative to ObamaCare. “Once you’ve decided no one’s going to lose coverage,” said Cassidy, “you’re going to take care of pre-existing [conditions], then whether you know it or not you’ve decided on our plan, cause I don’t see any way to get there without mandates.”
But a significant bloc of conservative Republicans have made it plain they will not vote for the Patient Freedom Act (S. 191) as it is now written. “As a conservative I don’t think [the Patient Freedom Act] would pass conservative muster,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
Conservatives greatest problem with the bill President Trump stands behind is it seems more like Obamacare light to many. In particular, the proposed bill keeps many of the law’s taxes that conservatives despise and allows states to keep ObamaCare if they so choose.
Rand Paul (Rep. Ken.) has introduced a bill in the Senate that he believes is a more conservative alternative that could unify the Republican Party. At this, however, he has found no co-sponsors.
“We’re open to ideas, but I think the key is it needs to be ideas that all Republicans can vote for,” Paul said. “I think keeping ObamaCare taxes, half the Republicans are not for that, and I think that’s a nonstarter as far as a bill.” He added, “If you like ObamaCare you can keep it in your state, that’s not going to work. People in Kentucky don’t want to pay for ObamaCare for people in New York.”
In an effort to bring the cost of insurance down, Paul’s legislation would remove many of the ACA’s mandates. It would eliminate much of the tax burden imposed by the ACA but it would also remove its most popular provision, guaranteed coverage of preexisting conditions. Lowering taxes and covering preexisting conditions are two things candidate Trump promised.
During a visit to House Republicans, Trump pitched his revised health care plan to a skeptical caucus of conservatives. Frustrated by continuing resistance within his own to party to one of his signature campaign promises, the President spoke in the strongest words that those present should get in line or face the consequences when election time comes around.
Mark Meadows, R-NC, head of the Freedom Caucus, said “I’m still a no,” Meadows said afterward, “because the bill that we’re currently considering does not lower premiums for the vast majority of Americans, and that’s what we need to do.”
The great negotiator has his work cut out for him.
~ Conservative Zone