Trump, Rand Paul Talk Healthcare Over a Round of Golf
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 09, 2017,
Apr 09, 2017, 4:09
The president hosted Paul, an eye doctor and Tea Party favorite with his own ObamaCare plan, at Trump National Golf Club, in Potomac Falls, Va., about 40 minutes from the White House.
Emerging from a meeting Monday night with Vice President Mike Pence, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said his group was "intrigued" by an idea the White House floated to give states more flexibility to opt out of Obamacare regulations using a waiver process, but Meadows wouldn't promise the Freedom Caucus would be on board in the end.
"I think the compromise could be keeping some of the underlying things in Obamacare, some small percentage of them, in order to placate the people who want that, but not affirmatively putting in the bill and saying to conservatives you have to vote for a new federal refundable tax credit, a new entitlement program to numerous conservatives", Paul said. "We want to make sure that when we go, we have the votes to pass this bill", he said.
Party leaders now hope to produce a new health care bill, but it remains unclear how that will happen, with deep divides among Republicans and little interest in cooperation from Democrats.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus have scaled back their initial request.
Paul has argued his bill more fully repeals and replaces the 2010 health care law, under which consumers are facing rising costs and fewer policy options. Trump blamed the failure on hardline Republican conservatives who opposed the bill and threatened to reach out to Democrats.
A Capitol Hill source familiar with the House Freedom Caucus told Breitbart News that even after the cancelled vote, members of the HFC have continued discussions with the White House about fixing Obamacare, which Ryan and other members of the House Republican leadership describe as being in a "death spiral", because of its unsustainable business model. Conservatives have wanted to remove that requirement in any GOP passed plan, while moderates have wanted to keep them in. Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., protected many Republicans by averting a House vote on the doomed bill, but several dozen supported it in committees.
Also at the evening meeting with conservatives were White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and budget director Mick Mulvaney.
Just hours after President Trump tweeted that he would continue to pursue legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, the president joined Sen.
Sunday's gathering between Trump and Paul suggests that the president is serious about passing real health care reform.
In an interview with the Financial Times published online Sunday, Trump said the bill was pulled because "I didn't want to take a vote". Freedom Caucus members were elected to stand against this kind of Democrats-light establishment Republicanism, and we thought President Trump was too. "When you look at the document, when you look at the legislation, it doesn't repeal Obamacare".
The Trump administration is unlikely to renew its push to repeal and replace the ACA through a single bill like the AHCA, but may attempt to water down elements of healthcare reform through administrative actions created to reduce federal subsidies and weaken health insurance exchanges.