Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Trump tells senators House health bill 'mean'

Connie Andrews | 17 June, 2017, 07:11

While much of the country is focused on Trump's exploding collusion scandal, the GOP is inching ever closer to passing the House's calamitous health care legislation. Mr. Trump's comments were described by people who received accounts of a White House lunch the president had Tuesday with 15 GOP senators.

Now, however, he is sounding a different tune.

According to the AP's sources, "the president did not say what aspects of the bill he was characterizing" when he called the legislation "mean".

The group of 13 senators that Trump invited to lunch includes Republicans from both ideological camps: moderate Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were on the list, as well as conservative Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.

Trump did not discuss the House GOP health care plan in any detail, but said the Senate is getting ready to do something. That House bill was widely criticized for letting states seek waivers from insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Last Tuesday, Anthem announced it would pull out of the Obamacare marketplace in OH, potentially leaving individual insurance-buyers in about a fifth of the state's counties without Affordable Care Act coverage to purchase.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., responded to Trump's reported comments by saying: "Congressional Republicans, with President Trump's support, are working to repeal and replace this bad Obamacare law that is harming Americans".

The AHCA would repeal most of Obamacare's taxes in 2017 while retaining the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on wealthy Americans until 2023 and delay the implementation of the "Cadillac tax" on high-cost health care plans until 2026. The senators reportedly either wrapped up work on the legislation this week or are in the process of putting the finishing touches on the grand plan.

Johnson has made the case that Republicans should not rush efforts to roll back President Barack Obama's health care law.

It didn't help the optics after the fact when some Republican lawmakers were forced to acknowledge that they had not read the bill before voting in support of it.

Unfortunately, the American public may not have those opportunities with the Senate's AHCA bill. Trump said he wants the Senate version to be "more generous", the sources said.

The House bill, H.R. 1628, would cut Medicaid by $834 billion over 10 years, repeal $664 billion of Obamacare's tax increases on the wealthy and the health-care industry, and end requirements that individuals get health insurance and that most employers provide it. "They're trying to write and pass a health care bill without telling anyone what's in it".

One said, "We aren't going to comment on rumors about private conversations that may or may not have happened".

"It's going to be an unbelievable victory when we get it through the Senate", he added. "I'm exhausted of Republicans promising they would repeal Obamacare and then negotiating to keep it".

In his remarks Tuesday, Trump again referred to Democrats in Congress as "obstructionists". Susan Collins of ME, but could end up alienating conservatives, such as Sen. Considering a number of offsets and spending, over the next decade the bill would save the government a total of $119 billion.

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