Trump jumps into health debate _ repeal now, replace later

Posted July 03, 2017

Meanwhile, Trump has done little other than to complicate the Republicans efforts to make good on a seven-year-old pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare. Now the plan is to strike deals over the Congressional recess and reconsolidate in August.

Conservatives said they opposed the idea, along with the chairmen of Congress' two tax-writing committees: Senate Finance chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas. The Senate version would still cut Medicaid, only not as much as the version House Republicans passed. Republicans have discovered they can't fix health care without paying for it, and keeping Obamacare's 3.8 percent surtax on investment income would provide $172 billion in extra funding over 10 years.

The Kentucky Republican was adamant about the timing of the vote, right up until he wasn't anymore.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was one of the Republican senators that rejected the Senate's latest proposed bill, sent a tweet supporting the President's strategy.

"The bill is just being lit up like a Christmas tree full of billion-dollar ornaments, and it's not repeal".

Paul, who re-tweeted Trump on Friday morning, later fired off a second tweet saying he had spoken to Trump and the Senate GOP leadership "about this and agree". Last January, even before taking office, Trump insisted that repeal and replace legislation be approved nearly simultaneously - within hours or days of each other - despite a preference by many congressional leaders to pass repeal legislation but postpone its effective date for a year or more while a new approach is developed.

Health industry officials have warned that overturning the existing law, which has extended insurance to roughly 20 million Americans and changed the rules under which insurance is offered across the country, would create chaos in a sector that accounts for one-sixth of the USA economy. We can do much better than this shameful GOP plan.

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As Donald Trump's health secretary fended off questions about whether the president is too distracted by Twitter to focus on healthcare reform, the White House's top legislative liaison official said the Senate was "getting close" to agreement on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement.

Short told "Fox News Sunday" the White House's hope is to pass a repeal-and-replace bill. That's what we think needs to be done.

"Middle-class families are getting hammered", he said.

"McConnell's trying to achieve a 50-vote Venn diagram between some very competing factions", said Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health policy expert who worked as a Senate GOP aide during passage of the Democrats' Affordable Care Act. "We think that helps solve numerous problems that America faces".

On Tuesday, a revolt of republican senators has forced the majority to postpone to July, the debates and votes scheduled for this week.

But they have not settled on how they would finance all these changes, since conservatives oppose the centrists' push to preserve one of the bill's current taxes as a way of funneling more money to those who can not afford health coverage on their own.