Trump privately criticizes Republican health care plan he celebrated
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 22, 2017,
Jun 22, 2017, 11:01
President Donald Trump told Republican senators Tuesday that the House-passed health care bill is "mean" and urged them to craft a version that is "more generous," congressional sources said. Mr. Trump's comments were described by people who received accounts of a White House lunch the president had Tuesday with 15 GOP senators.
Referring to Obamacare as a "disaster", Trump told reporters who briefly attended the meeting that the legislation he hopes to sign would be "phenomenal for the people of our country".
Sources at the meeting told Politico that Republicans "risk getting savaged in the 2018 midterms" if they failed to repeal Obamacare, after campaigning against it for seven years. "They'll come out with a real bill, not Obamacare".
If Trump feels this strongly about the Republican health care bill, why does he keep praising it in public?
Leadership desires to get a vote on the bill before a week-long July 4 recess, meaning there would be little time between the bill's release and a vote.
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said "congressional Republicans, with President Trump's support, are working to repeal and replace this bad Obamacare law that is harming Americans".
In remarks at a luncheon with Republican senators June 13, Trump also argued that the GOP's replacement of Obamacare would show "heart", according to the Associated Press.
Stefanie Miller of Height Securities said in a research note that it's likely the Senate's bill would be more generous with tax credits and other support for older Americans. Considering the bill could potentially leave millions of Americans suddenly without health insurance, this is an extremely morally dubious move by the GOP. Negotiations this week have centered on the Affordable Care Act's individual marketplaces, including a proposal that would allocate billions in funding to smooth over the transition to a new model should the ACA repeal succeed, The Wall Street Journal reported (sub. req.). "The consequences would be awful to fail", adding: "Even worse than not passing a bill is passing a bill that makes the problems worse". They agreed to language letting states drop requirements for higher premiums under Obama's health care law to protect those with pre-existing medical conditions, and requiring insurers to cover specific services like maternity care.
Attendees at the lunch include Iowa Sen.
"Repealing all the ACA taxes would be most Republicans' top choice - and the tax repeal is essential to maintaining the (quiet) support of the health insurance and device industries - but the costs of all the above provisions we think will ultimately force Congress to wind down some of the provisions more slowly", she wrote.
Another senator at the lunch, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, said after the meeting that there still was a lot of work to do before legislation can be unveiled.