President Trump praised the bill now he wants more after pressure from the right.
The American people have said time and time again that they want bi-partisanship to return to Washington. President Donald Trump has said that he would like nothing more to have Democrats support his agenda.
Well, there is a bi-partisan fix to the healthcare problem with more than 60 votes ready to pass in the upper chamber but the question remains if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) will allow it to come to a floor vote and will President Donald Trump, sign the bill once that it does pass?
JIM WILLIAMS AND FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH ADVISOR TALK ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE BILL AND ALL THE ISSUES OF THE DAY ON THIS EDITION OF THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT PODCAST.
According to Politico Sens., Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced last week that they had reached an agreement on an Obamacare deal which would fund a key insurance subsidy program. The deal is meant to allow for some breathing room for the system amid attempts to improve or replace it.
Meanwhile, The Hill is reporting that President Trump has repeatedly expressed support for the bipartisan negotiations led by Sen. Alexander (R-Tenn.), but has twice said he supports the bill but now he is not sure whether he supports the agreement that the senator reached with Democrats. Without Trump’s support, it’s unlikely the bill can pass.
The White House, after meeting with some members of the conservative caucus has sent a list of changes it would like to see made to the health-care bill, but some Republicans say the White House should skip the middleman and negotiate directly with Democrats.
“Next step is really for the White House to sit down with Democrats, and discuss them asks and negotiate,” said a Senate GOP aide. “This is the legislative process. If they have suggestions, then now they need to negotiate.”
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said President Trump originally urged lawmakers to come up with a bipartisan health care fix, but he added that the president’s reluctance to support the bipartisan bill comes after the “right wing” attacked it.
“This is a good compromise. It took months to work out. It has a majority. It has 60 senators supporting it. We have all 48 Democrats, 12 Republicans,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “I would urge Senator McConnell to put it on the floor immediately, this week. It will pass and it will pass by a large number of votes.”
McConnell said on Sunday during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would bring the bill to the floor only if Trump would sign it. Trump has called the bill a “short-term fix” and has urged lawmakers to go further.
The Senate has tried to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act a total of six times since President Trump has been in office and they have failed each time to even get 50 votes. Now there is a bi-partisan bill that would keep Obamacare alive with some fixes that appeal to both parties.
President Trump is now asking for some concessions from the Democrats that he has said would (in his opinion) ensure that insurance companies do not benefit from payments, known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), that the legislation would extend for two years. That is not deal breaker for the Democrats, as a matter of fact, the Alexander-Murray bill already includes language that would require insurers to pass savings on to consumers in the form of a rebate or another mechanism, but some more conservative GOP lawmakers say that language could be strengthened.
Alexander has proved again that he is a master politician as he was able to pick up support from both Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, the authors of the most recent effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, as co-sponsors, signaling the president needn’t sacrifice his repeal-and-replace efforts to sign this short-term bill. And in their respective floor speeches, both Alexander and Murray addressed the president’s primary objection to the compromise, emphasizing their willingness to make sure cost-sharing reduction payments go to consumers rather than insurers’ bottom lines.
But suddenly President Trump wants more after the bill was crafted to give him a bi-partisan win on health care. He once again has gone to the most conservative side of the political spectrum.
According to the latest reporting from The Hill, The White House now wants to lift the individual mandate penalty for 2017, the proposed changes would lift for three years the penalty for employers who don’t offer coverage. The White House also wants to expand short-term health insurance plans and association health plans; Democrats fear those plans will offer less generous coverage and drive healthy people away from ObamaCare.
The pool of healthy people leaving the insurance plans would drive up the cost of premiums to older people and put in jeopardy the all-important preexisting conditions clauses in insurance plans.
Clearly, that would be a deal breaker for the Democrats. But Sen. Alexander feels this bill is the best chance to fix health care and he thinks there can be some middle ground on the issues.
Alexander told reporters Monday that he supports all of the changes the White House has proposed, but it’s up to them to negotiate.
“The White House has the ball right now,” he said. “I’m for all of those things. The question is whether they can persuade Democratic senators to agree to that.”
This could be a moment for Sen. Schumer (D-NY), a friend of President Trump, to sit down and work out the final details of the bill. But if President Trump takes a hard line on this bill after praising it last week, he will blow his best chance to get a bi-partisan win on something that will actually help the American people.
Now it is up to President Trump to prove he actually can see a good deal when it is up before him.