President Donald Trump is expected to come to Capitol Hill to meet with GOP lawmakers in the lower chamber Tuesday to garner support for the House GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill slated to be voted on Thursday evening.
The trip to the Capitol comes amid doubts leadership has enough votes to pass the measure in its current form.
A number of legislators remain unsold on the legislation; both moderates and conservatives are voicing concerns over a number of provisions. Members of the House Freedom Caucus have blasted the bill, dubbing it “Obamacare lite,” due to its language on advancable, refundable tax credits — which they feel creates a new entitlement program. Other criticisms revolve around the 30 percent hike in premiums for those who drop coverage, as well as the timeline for rolling back Medicaid expansion. Moderate critics, including Tuesday Group co-Chairman Charlie Dent, say they are not willing to vote for legislation without a full replacement plan in place.
GOP leadership in the House remains optimistic they will manage to gain enough support to send the legislation to the Senate before Easter recess, noting additional changes are expected to be made to placate hesitant members.
Trump administration officials — including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma — have been meeting with GOP lawmakers in an attempt to help gain support for the American Health Care Act over the course of the past two months.
Repealing President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation was a key platform for Republicans during the 2016 election cycle and remains a critical priority for both Congress and the White House. Failure isn’t an option for the Republican Party in terms of health care reform, GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas recently said. He added: if we “blow it, we will rightly be considered a laughingstock.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan praised Trump’s work to bridge the divide in the party during an appearance on FNC’s “Fox News Sunday.”
“He’s the one who has helped negotiate changes to this bill with members from all over our caucus,” he told host Chris Wallace. “I call it getting the sweet spot, you’ve got to get 218 Republicans, who come from all different walks of life, to come together to agree on the best possible plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
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