Articles on this Page
- 03/23/17--05:48: _'You were given man...
- 03/23/17--06:40: _OBAMA DEFENDS OBAMA...
- 03/23/17--10:03: _Hardline conservati...
- 03/23/17--10:39: _'No deal': Hardline...
- 03/23/17--12:07: _Republicans delay v...
- 03/23/17--14:41: _The CBO score for t...
- 03/23/17--16:03: _GOP lawmakers slamm...
- 03/23/17--17:28: _TRUMP ISSUES ULTIMA...
- 03/24/17--06:08: _Trump starts health...
- 03/24/17--07:50: _'It is one of the w...
- 03/24/17--08:00: _Scarborough goes on...
- 03/24/17--09:35: _'TRUMPCARE' JUDGMEN...
- 03/24/17--11:02: _SPICER: Trump 'left...
- 03/24/17--12:07: _'This bill is a sha...
- 03/24/17--14:03: _Obama spokesman twe...
- 03/24/17--17:10: _Federal inspector g...
- 03/24/17--21:22: _TV ads thanking Rep...
- 03/25/17--05:14: _How 'Trumpcare' wen...
- 03/25/17--12:52: _House Republican sh...
- 03/25/17--14:56: _Pence on 'Trumpcare...
- 03/23/17--10:39: 'No deal': Hardline conservatives threaten to sink 'Trumpcare'
- 03/23/17--17:28: TRUMP ISSUES ULTIMATUM: Pass this bill or Obamacare stays
- The House of Representatives will vote on the American Health Care Act on Friday after an ultimatum to GOP lawmakers from President Trump.
- The House will go through four hours of debate on the bill. The final vote is expected soon after 4 p.m. ET.
- Only 22 Republicans can vote against the bill, but conservatives and moderates have come out against the AHCA.
- House Speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House to tell Trump he did not have the votes to pass the bill.
- 03/25/17--14:56: Pence on 'Trumpcare': 'Congress just wasn't ready'
President Donald Trump took time out of his last-minute negotiations on Republican leadership's bill to repeal and replace Obamacare to send out a video message urging the public to show support for the bill, the American Health Care Act.
In a video message tweeted out Thursday morning, Trump listed places where he said Obamacare, the healthcare law officially known as the Affordable Care act, fell short.
"Americans were told that Obamacare would bring down prices and increase options," Trump said in the video. "You were told that you could keep your plan and keep your doctor. You were given many, many false stories. The fact is, you were given many, many lies."
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that 24 million people would lose their healthcare coverage over the next 10 years under the AHCA. It also estimated that premiums would increase over the next two years before falling.
The House vote is expected Thursday, and based on statements from GOP lawmakers it could be a close call. In the video, Trump urged Americans to call their representatives and ask them to vote for the AHCA.
"Go with our plan," Trump said. "It's going to be terrific — you're going to be very, very happy. Call your local representative, call your senator, let them know you're behind our plan."
The conservative House Freedom Caucus says it has enough GOP lawmakers who will vote against the bill to block it, but Trump has engaged in last-minute negotiations with the group to try to save the bill.
Watch the full video message below:
SEE ALSO: 'Trumpcare' faces its make or break day
Former President Barack Obama is defending the Affordable Care Act, his signature healthcare legislation also known as Obamacare, as the threat of its repeal looms.
On the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Obama released a statement that celebrated the achievements of the law.
"It was a long battle, carried out in Congressional hearings and in the public square for more than a year," said Obama. "But ultimately, after a century of talk, decades of trying, and a year of bipartisan debate, our generation was the one that succeeded. We finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody."
Obama also acknowledged that there were shortcomings in the ACA, but urged Republicans to work wth Democrats to build on Obamacare instead of dismantling the law.
"So if Republicans are serious about lowering costs while expanding coverage to those who need it, and if they’re prepared to work with Democrats and objective evaluators in finding solutions that accomplish those goals – that’s something we all should welcome," said the statement. "But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans."
Overall, however, Obama reiterated his belief that the law made the US healthcare system better off.
"So the reality is clear: America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act," said Obama.
At the same time Obama celebrates the passage of the ACA, the House is expected to vote Thursday on the American Health Care Act, the GOP's bill to overhaul the health care system and repeal and replace the ACA. The vote is expected to be close.
Read the full statements below:
Statement from President Barack Obama On the 7th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act
"When I took office, millions of Americans were locked out of our health care system. So, just as leaders in both parties had tried to do since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, we took up the cause of health reform. It was a long battle, carried out in Congressional hearings and in the public square for more than a year. But ultimately, after a century of talk, decades of trying, and a year of bipartisan debate, our generation was the one that succeeded. We finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody.
"The result was the Affordable Care Act, which I signed into law seven years ago today. Thanks to this law, more than twenty million Americans have gained the security and peace of mind of health insurance. Thanks to this law, more than ninety percent of Americans are insured – the highest rate in our history. Thanks to this law, the days when women could be charged more than men and Americans with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage altogether are relics of the past. Seniors have bigger discounts on their prescription drugs. Young people can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26 years old. And Americans who already had insurance received an upgrade as well – from free preventive care, like mammograms and vaccines, to improvements in the quality of care in hospitals that has averted nearly 100,000 deaths so far.
"All of that is thanks to the Affordable Care Act. And all the while, since the law passed, the pace of health care inflation has slowed dramatically. Prices are still rising, just as they have every year for decades – but under this law, they’ve been rising at the slowest rate in fifty years. Families who get coverage through their employer are paying, on average, thousands of dollars less per year than if costs kept rising as fast as they were before the law. And reality continues to discredit the false claim that this law is in a “death spiral,” because while it's true that some premiums have risen, the vast majority of Marketplace enrollees have experienced no average premium hike at all. And so long as the law is properly administered, this market will remain stable. Likewise, this law is no “job-killer,” because America’s businesses went on a record-breaking streak of job growth in the seven years since I signed it.
"So the reality is clear: America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act. There will always be work to do to reduce costs, stabilize markets, improve quality, and help the millions of Americans who remain uninsured in states that have so far refused to expand Medicaid. I’ve always said we should build on this law, just as Americans of both parties worked to improve Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid over the years. So if Republicans are serious about lowering costs while expanding coverage to those who need it, and if they’re prepared to work with Democrats and objective evaluators in finding solutions that accomplish those goals – that’s something we all should welcome. But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans. That should always be our priority.
"The Affordable Care Act is law only because millions of Americans mobilized, and organized, and decided that this fight was about more than health care – it was about the character of our country. It was about whether the wealthiest nation on Earth would make sure that neither illness nor twist of fate would rob us of everything we’ve worked so hard to build. It was about whether we look out for one another, as neighbors, and fellow citizens, who care about each other’s success. This fight is still about all that today. And Americans who love their country still have the power to change it."
SEE ALSO: 'Trumpcare' faces its make-or-break day
As Republicans near a vote in the House of Representatives on their healthcare bill, some hardline conservatives are driving a hard bargain that may sink the legislation.
The House Freedom Caucus, a group of very conservative House lawmakers, reportedly is demanding that the American Health Care Act strip key, popular provisions of Obamacare — officially known as the Affordable Care Act.
On Wednesday night, reports said that President Donald Trump and the White House had conceded to the Freedom Caucus that they would change the bill to strip out the ACA's essential health benefits. This was a provision that forced insurers to cover a baseline of care.
These changes were not enough for some members of the Freedom Caucus, according to reports. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a prominent member of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters that essential health benefit repeal was not enough and "it's always been beyond that."
The freedom Caucus has reportedly asked for a repeal of some "Title 1 provisions" in the ACA. These provisions do things like prevent insurers from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition, allow children to stay on their parents insurance until they turn 26 years old, and annual limits on healthcare costs.
The only problem is that many of these Title 1 provisions are the most popular parts of the law.
On Wednesday, a Harvard Harris Poll found that 90% of people surveyed supported the pre-existing conditions provision. 80% supported the provision allowing children to stay on their parent's health insurance until age 26.
In terms of the essential health benefits, a poll in December 2016 by the nonpartisan health policy think tank The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 83% of those surveyed supported the provision to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for preventative services.
Trump promised on the campaign trail to keep these provisions intact and now appears to be balking at the request from hardline conservatives. According to Bloomberg, the White House refused the Freedom Caucus' demands for Title 1 provision repeals at the meeting on Wednesday.
The fear is also that more moderate Republicans may drop their support of the AHCA if these elements are repealed. On the other hand, the GOP risks the Freedom Caucus uniformly voting against the bill, which would be enough to block its passage.
Trump was meeting with Freedom Caucus leaders at the White House to smooth over these details and get the needed support for the bill as of the 12:25 p.m. ET.
SEE ALSO: The final countdown for 'Trumpcare'
The Republican effort to overhaul the US healthcare system faces its biggest test yet Thursday as members of the House of Representatives are expected to vote on the American Health Care Act.
Despite a push from President Donald Trump and administration officials, Republicans from both the conservative and moderate wings of the party have come out against the bill, saying it either does not go far enough in its repeal of or does not make enough improvements to the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare.
Members have spent the day meeting with leaders, hardline conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus went to the White House for a meeting with Trump while more moderate members met with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Capitol Hill.
Based on early reports from those meetings, it appears the AHCA does not have enough support to pass a House vote.
According to The New York Times' tracker of House members' public statements, 31 Republicans have said they will vote against the bill. That is above the 23 defections from the GOP that would sink the bill.
Given the upheaval, Republicans delayed a meeting of their House members originally scheduled for 9 a.m. ET Thursday until after negotiations between GOP holdouts in the bill and the White House.
Additionally, Ryan has pushed back his press conference originally scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET to 3:30 p.m. ET. According to Dylan Scott at STAT, as of 3:00 p.m. ET Ryan is meeting with House GOP leaders including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican House Whip Steve Scalise.
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, head of the Ways and Means Committee and one of the architects of the AHCA, told Fox News that Republicans are in 95% agreement on the bill but leaders still have "work to do" to get enough votes to pass it.
Negotiations with conservatives
The largest bloc that must be won over for Trump and GOP leaders to pass the bill is the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
The group, headed by Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, has been against the AHCA since its introduction, the group says, because the bill does not deliver on the group's promise of fully repealing Obamacare. The GOP rolled out a large amendment on Monday with a series of changes to the bill to win over the Freedom Caucus, but it failed to move the needle.
The group says it has roughly 25 votes against the bill, enough to kill it.
In an attempt to placate the group, Trump has been negotiating directly with conservatives about possible last-minute changes that could make the bill more palatable.
Trump met in the White House on Thursday with the members of the Freedom Caucus, and according to reports made a "final offer" of changes for the AHCA, but they reportedly didn't reach a deal.
According to reports, the White House is willing to drop Obamacare's so-called essential health benefits — the provision that forced insurers to cover certain types of ailments. While this comes with a myriad of issues, not the least of which is possible pushback from moderates, it still does not seem to be enough to win over the Freedom Caucus.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a member of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters on Thursday that "it's always been beyond" essential health benefits.
According to Billy House, Anna Edney, and Jennifer Jacobs at Bloomberg, Meadows and the Freedom Caucus have asked that the provision of Obamacare that compels insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions be dropped, which the Trump administration has flatly refused.
"Addressing preexisting conditions has always been a requirement for any replacement plan that HFC would support,"Meadows told reporters.
The preexisting-conditions provision is the most popular part of the ACA, with a Harvard Harris poll showing that 90% of Americans supported the measure.
The Freedom Caucus is not the only group within the Republican Party coming out against the bill.
Some moderate Republicans have defected from the party line, saying the AHCA does not meet their requirements for an Obamacare replacement plan.
Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a moderate GOP member, on Thursday morning said he would not vote for the bill.
"I believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans, particularly for low-to-moderate income and older individuals,"Dent said. "We have an important opportunity to enact reforms that will result in real healthcare transformation — bringing down costs and improving health outcomes. This legislation misses the mark."
Rep. Jamie Beutler of Washington also stated an intention to vote against the bill on Thursday, hours before the House vote. Beutler had previously expressed concerns about the changes in the bill to Medicaid.
"I'm disappointed that it appears my amendment to strengthen the Medicaid safety net for the kids who depend on it for their health care will not be considered," said the statement."Protecting vulnerable children is a core purpose of the Medicaid program and when the program fails to do so, it fails entirely. I will not vote to let those kids fall through the cracks."
Rep. Mark Amodei of Nevada also tweeted Thursday afternoon that he was against the bill.
"We’ve done our homework,"said Amodei."We’ve closed on the issue in preparation for a vote tonight. I’m a no on the #AHCA."
Other moderate members like Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith of New Jersey along with Rep. David Young of Iowa all came out against the AHCA on Wednesday.
LoBiondo, in fact, said the bill did not even measure up to the Obamacare system.
"It is not as good as or better than what we currently have,"LoBiondo said in a statement. "Accordingly, I will vote no on this healthcare plan."
Speaker Ryan held a meeting with moderates on Thursday to win them over to the bill and update them on concessions made to the Freedom Caucus. According to CNN's Phil Mattingly, members left the meeting around 11:30 a.m.
At the same time as the furious negotiations are happening on Capitol Hill, outside political groups have also taken stances against the AHCA.
Conservative action groups including the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and Heritage Action have come out against the bill, saying it does not do enough to alleviate their concerns with Obamacare. In addition, these groups have pegged the AHCA vote to what is called a key vote. This means that if a House member votes for the bill, the person’s "score" (a measure of how much the group supports the particular lawmaker) will drop and could in turn affect the House representative's support in the next election.
Additionally, policy groups have warned that the current version of the bill could have serious consequences for the healthcare system. Drew Altman, the CEO of the nonpartisan health-policy think tank Kaiser Family Foundation, wrote for the news website Axios on Wednesday that the bill as written would increase out-of-pocket costs as more people are shifted to high-deductible plans.
Additionally, the Brookings Institution warned that recent amendments to the bill could actually make the number of people losing health coverage because of the AHCA worse than the Congressional Budget Office's original estimate of 24 million over the next 10 years.
Last procedural hurdle
Before the bill can advance to the full House for a vote, there is still one procedural step it has to go through.
The House Rules Committee suspended its hearing on the AHCA on Wednesday after debating the bill for roughly 12 hours. The committee will reconvene Thursday before submitting the bill to the House floor.
The House Rules Committee determines numerous key frameworks for the debate and amendments that can be considered for the bill while it is on the floor.
Multiple sources told Business Insider that the Thursday vote on the House Republicans healthcare-reform bill would be postponed because party leaders failed to reach an agreement on the bill.
One of the sources, who spoke with multiple Hill Republicans, said the vote on the American Health Care Act — the GOP leadership's bill to repeal and replace Obamacare — would be pushed to a later date.
The impasse between Republicans came as hardline conservative members of the GOP in the House Freedom Caucus demanded more concessions on repealing parts of Obamacare, while moderate Republicans balked at those aggressive changes.
After meeting with President Trump on Thursday, House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows said that there was no deal agreed to and that the GOP did not have enough votes to pass the bill.
One of Business Insider's sources said the breakdown was over the Freedom Caucus' desire to repeal essential health benefits — part of Obamacare that mandated insurers cover basic health procedures such as prenatal care and preventive health services.
Reportedly, the Freedom Caucus wanted this to be repealed and pushed for a repeal of the ACA's provisions preventing insurers from denying patients based on a preexisting condition.
At the same time, moderate Republicans were worried that the concessions went too far and a handful came out against the bill for being too severe.
House Speaker Paul Ryan had scheduled a press conference for 3:30 p.m. ET, but it has been postponed. Official word on whether or not the vote would be delayed is expected at the meeting. Soon after Ryan's press conference was postponed, a number of outlets reported that the vote would be pushed to a later date.
Reuters reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators not to expect a vote on the bill until Monday, citing senior Senate aides.
Earlier Thursday, Republican Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, after meeting with committee chairs and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, told reporters that the vote would not happen Thursday.
Roe told reporters that he expected the vote to be on Friday.
Ryan has consistently said that the vote would be on Thursday, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he expected the vote would continue as scheduled during his Thursday-afternoon press briefing. Business Insider asked several top House Republicans for comment, but none immediately responded.
According to The New York Times, which has been tracking public statements regarding the vote, 31 House GOP members are against the AHCA with 15 more expressing doubts about the bill.
In order for the bill to pass, a maximum of 22 Republicans can vote against it.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its revised estimate for the Republican healthcare bill on Thursday, and it could put House GOP leaders on even worse footing than the office's original assessment.
The report from the CBO on the amendments added on Monday to the American Health Care Act show that 24 million more Americans could be uninsured by 2026 compared to the current healthcare system.
The most significant change in the CBO's score was that the reduction of the federal deficit the CBO projected would be less with the amendments than under the previous version of the AHCA.
This would be primarily due to a decrease in the revenue generated from taxes, but spending would stay roughly the same as they projected in the first score, the CBO said.
"Reducing the threshold for determining the medical care deduction on individuals’ income tax returns from 7.5 percent of income to 5.8 percent would reduce revenues by about $90 billion," the report said."Other changes include adjusting the effective dates and making other modifications to the provisions that repeal or delay many of the changes in the Affordable Care Act, which would reduce revenues by $48 billion."
The amendments introduced Monday moved up the date of repeal for many of Obamacare's taxes to 2017 from 2018 in the original bill.
Additionally, the CBO said that adjustments to the formula that calculated Medicaid funding would result in a reduction of revenues totaling $41 billion over the same timeframe.
The report said that projections for the stability of the individual health insurance market and premiums for people on the individual exchanges were the same.
This score, however, does not encompass any changes made to the bill since Monday. The White House and GOP leaders have been negotiating with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and may have promised edits on the legislation that have not been formally and publicly introduced.
GOP leadership delayed a vote on the healthcare bill Thursday because the bill did not have enough support from Republicans to pass. There has been no official word on when a vote will take place.
WASHINGTON — In letter after letter, Republican lawmakers have reminded their constituents: Obamacare cut Medicare.
Implied, and sometimes stated outright, was that the GOP’s own plan should instead bolster the program.
"Any reforms must protect Medicare," Congressman Ted Poe, a Texas Republican who represents a district in the Houston area, wrote in a letter last month to one of his constituents about the Affordable Care Act’s failures and his party’s own plans.
"Obamacare took $500 million from Medicare to pay for its infrastructure," Poe continued. "That was wrong, and Medicare must be strengthened so that it is still there for future generations."
But the bill now working its way through Congress does not reverse those cuts. Instead, Republicans for now appear committed to keeping this reviled part of the law.
President Donald Trump is giving House Republicans an ultimatum: Pass the American Health Care Act on Friday, or Obamacare stays.
Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Budget and Management director, made clear to Republicans on Thursday night that Trump wants a vote Friday and that he is done negotiating on the bill to overhaul healthcare. If it is not passed, the president will move on from the bill, reports said.
The GOP leadership will bring the bill to a vote on the House floor Friday, according to Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur.
In a late Thursday statement after scheduling the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters, "We have been promising the American people that we will repeal and replace this broken law because it's collapsing and it's failing families. And tomorrow we're proceeding."
It is unclear whether it has the votes to pass.
"Disastrous Obamacare has led to higher costs & fewer options. It will only continue to get worse!" Trump tweeted Thursday evening. "We must #RepealANDReplace. #PassTheBill."
House Republican leaders originally wanted to vote on the AHCA on Thursday, but an impasse with the conservative House Freedom Caucus led them to delay the vote.
Trump, who has been called the "closer" by Ryan, met with Freedom Caucus members on Wednesday and Thursday but could not get them to agree to vote for the AHCA.
In fact, some concessions that the White House has been considering for the Freedom Caucus has made moderate members of the GOP waver on the bill. Conservatives have been calling for the AHCA to drop provisions from Obamacare that disallow insurers from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions. They have also urged the bill to be scrapped of so-called essential health benefits that set a baseline for the necessary coverage a health insurer has to provide.
Mulvaney, once a member of the Freedom Caucus, reportedly laid down an ultimatum to the GOP members including the Freedom Caucus and the moderate Tuesday Group at a meeting on Capitol Hill.
As of 8 p.m. ET, 33 House Republicans have said they will not vote for the AHCA, according to the New York Times. Republicans can only afford to have 22 GOP members vote "no" for the bill to pass.
President Donald Trump started Friday off with a Twitter tirade aimed at the conservative House Freedom Caucus as Republicans prepare for an uncertain vote on their healthcare legislation.
"The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!"Trump tweeted.
Republicans delayed a vote on the GOP leadership's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, the healthcare law officially called the Affordable Care Act, because the party did not have enough votes to pass the bill.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus have argued that the new bill, the American Health Care Act, does not go far enough in its repeal of Obamacare. The holdouts from the Freedom Caucus appeared to have enough votes to block the passage of the bill on Thursday.
The AHCA does pull funding from Planned Parenthood, but the Freedom Caucus' main issue is that other regulations from Obamacare would stay in place under the AHCA.
GOP leadership spent much of Thursday attempting to compromise on the bill to get the Freedom Caucus and others on board. Trump, whom House Speaker Paul Ryan called the "closer," met multiple times with the Freedom Caucus over the past two days but has been unable to sway their votes.
Trump also appeared to appeal directly to the American public Friday, arguing that the AHCA was the best chance the US had to overhaul its healthcare system.
"After seven horrible years of Obamacare (skyrocketing premiums & deductibles, bad healthcare), this is finally your chance for a great plan!"Trump tweeted.
Health-policy analysts have predicted that deductibles would rise under the AHCA while plans would generally cover fewer health issues.
Additionally, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that premiums would increase for two years after the AHCA's passage and then come in lower than the baseline thereafter. The CBO also projected that 24 million more people would be without health insurance after 10 years if the AHCA is passed than if the existing system were to be left in place.
Trump issued an ultimatum to GOP lawmakers on Thursday night, saying they needed to pass the AHCA on Friday or Obamacare would stay in place. A vote is expected later Friday.
UPDATE: Following the president's tweet, Planned Parenthood provided a statement to Business Insider pushing back on the assertions made by Trump. The statement reads:
"It’s crystal clear: They will sacrifice the health of every woman in this country to pass this disastrous bill. This was already the worst bill for women’s health in our lifetime – and it’s getting worse every day. Yesterday Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, and Republican leadership eliminated maternity care from health coverage. Today, the President is using Planned Parenthood, and the millions of women who depend on us for care, as part of a dangerous political game. The president knows what it means to take away care at Planned Parenthood. As he himself has said, millions of women depend on us for cancer screenings, birth control, and other essential health care.
You cannot call yourself pro-family and slash maternity care. You cannot claim you want to invest in women’s health and block access to Planned Parenthood and essential women’s health care. Negotiating away access to cancer screenings, birth control and maternity care is not ‘pro-life,’ it’s cruel.
While the President tweets and plays politics, we're busy fighting to save health care that 1 in 5 women rely on."
Despite an ultimatum from President Donald Trump, conservative members of the House of Representatives have continued their attacks on the GOP leadership's healthcare bill on the day of a pass-or-fail vote.
Some members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative representatives, have said the American Health Care Act does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare, the law known formally as the Affordable Care Act, and have expressed their intention to vote against the bill.
"No, I'm not ready to surrender on an issue as important as Obamacare," Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama said in an interview with CNBC on Friday. "I am going to vote against it because it is one of the worst bills I have seen in my 30 years as a county commissioner, legislator, district attorney, and now congressman. It's very, very bad in a variety of ways."
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told House Republicans in a meeting late Thursday to pass the AHCA, saying Trump would move on and leave Obamacare in place if it did not pass.
Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a Freedom Caucus member who has described himself as a "hell no" on the AHCA, said Trump's ultimatum undermined the US's system of government.
"If Exec branch tells Legislative branch 'when 2 vote' 'how 2 vote' & 'what it will b allowed 2 work on if vote fails,' is that a republic?"Massie tweeted Friday.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who has been vocal about his distaste for the bill, calling it "Obamacare 2.0," also used Twitter to attack GOP leadership for editing the bill and leaving some members in the dark about the changes.
Amash was one of four Republican representatives who voted against a measure that will allow the final version of the AHCA to be released and voted on in the same day.
"We must have the opportunity to read and understand the final bill before we vote,"Amash tweeted. "It's irresponsible to do otherwise."
Some conservatives in the Freedom Caucus, however, have softened their stances.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee had been leaning toward voting "no" on the bill but shifted to undecided, calling the vote"a really tough choice." Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina also moderated his tone Thursday night, telling Politico he was undecided.
But a good portion of the roughly 35-member Freedom Caucus still appears to be against the AHCA and plans to vote against the bill.
Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters on Thursday that it had "not gotten enough of our members to get to yes at this point" to pass the AHCA.
After meeting with the group on Wednesday and Thursday, the president lambasted the group on Twitter on Friday morning for its stance against the bill.
A Republican source close to the discussion told Business Insider that a final vote on the bill would most likely take place Friday after 4 p.m.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough launched into a lengthy tirade on healthcare Friday morning, slamming President Donald Trump for prioritizing healthcare overhaul above issues such as tax reform.
"This was such an obviously stupid play done by somebody, or a group of people, that didn't know how Washington worked," Scarborough said on "Morning Joe."
"We said it time and time again. They could not lead with healthcare. And when they decided to lead with healthcare, why did they decide to lead with Paul Ryan's version of healthcare? It was completely opposite of what Donald Trump promised every day on the campaign trail."
The future of Republican leaders' healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act, has been in flux all week, as Republicans struggle to whip votes within their own party. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have remained holdouts, arguing the AHCA does not go far enough in repealing the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare.
Trump used Twitter on Friday morning to attack the House Freedom Caucus, arguing that it was ironic that the group, "which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!"
Scarborough said Trump had waded into the same trap that befell President Bill Clinton when Clinton tried to push healthcare reform in the early 1990s.
"So much of this was the same mistake that … neophyte presidents make when they come into Washington," he said. "Bill Clinton ended up getting destroyed because he went too far left."
Scarborough said Trump should have allowed Ryan, the House speaker, to sort out the details of healthcare reform with other members of Congress first and involve himself toward the end of a deal to play "peacemaker."
"I know this sounds cold — they said, 'Well we've been promising to repeal and replace Obamacare for six years.' Well guess what? That's their problem," he said. "That's not the president of the United States' problem."
Watch a clip of the full exchange below:
Friday is judgment day for the Republican Party's opening bid to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
After President Trump issued an ultimatum to Republicans on Thursday, the House began debating their legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare in the early hours of Friday morning.
The GOP leadership originally wanted to vote on the AHCA on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law. But leaders were unable to garner enough support for the bill and delayed the vote.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told a group of Republicans on Thursday night that they had to pass the AHCA on Friday — or Trump would move on from the bill and leave them stuck with Obamacare.
It put the onus on House GOP members. But given reservations from conservatives who do not think the bill goes far enough in its repeal of Obamacare and moderates who think the AHCA does not solve the problems of the healthcare system, the outcome of the vote is unclear.
House Speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House early Friday afternoon to brief Trump on the latest with the healthcare bill.
Reports indicated that Ryan told Trump that the GOP did not have enough votes to pass the bill. Despite the possibility that the GOP leadership could pull the bill and not have a vote, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at the daily press briefing that the vote was still scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.
Republican Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas, who has been against the AHCA, tweeted that the bill did not have enough votes to pass and the vote could be delayed again.
"Good chance vote may be postponed,"Gohmert tweeted at 12:45 p.m. ET. "Leadership hiding likely more NON-Freedom Caucus No votes than Freedom Caucus No votes."
The final offer
The American Health Care Act has changed considerably from its introduction on March 6.
In an effort to win over conservative members of the House GOP, the final bill will have a provision that would do away with the ACA's "essential health benefits." Those mandate that insurance companies cover certain types of care, such as prenatal care and preventive screenings such as mammograms.
The effects of these changes on things like the federal budget, health-insurance marketplace, and premiums are unknown, as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has not had the time to score the updated bill. Some health-policy experts have said that the recent changes would likely cause a further deterioration of the individual health-insurance marketplace.
Despite attacking Democrats for the process in which they passed the ACA, Republicans would likely introduce the completed bill and take a final vote the same day. The vote would come less than three weeks after the introduction of the original AHCA. By contrast, the ACA was introduced five months before the House passed the bill in 2009.
Losing support on both sides
The problem facing the AHCA on its crucial day is that even with the concessions, both moderates and conservative Republicans have taken issue with parts of the bill.
Conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus have said the bill did not go far enough in its repeal of Obamacare's insurance regulations, even with the end of essential health benefits.
Freedom Caucus members want to see more of the so-called Title 1 regulations stripped, including provisions preventing insurance companies from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions and the ability for a child to stay on their parents' health insurance until they are 26 years old. Both provisions have proved very popular with the American public.
The White House has balked at the demands, which has left Freedom Caucus members at large decidedly against the bill. According to reports, the Freedom Caucus held a meeting Friday morning and many of its roughly 35-member caucus were still strongly in the "no" camp.
At the same time conservatives are asking for more parts of the ACA to be repealed, moderates have been coming out against the bill for going too far in disrupting the healthcare system.
One high-profile moderate defector was Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey. Frelinghuysen, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, wrote in a Facebook post that the changes to the essential health benefits persuaded him to vote "no" on the bill.
"Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey,"Frelinghuysen said. "In addition to the loss of Medicaid coverage for so many people in my Medicaid-dependent state, the denial of essential health benefits in the individual market raise serious coverage and cost issues."
Other moderates have said the changes to Medicaid would prevent them for voting for the bill.
As of 11:30 a.m., The New York Times estimated that 32 Republicans have come out against the bill and 10 others are leaning against it.
What to expect
The White House and GOP leadership will continue to wrangle votes as debate on the AHCA continues for four hours, according to the rules set by the House Rules Committee on Friday morning. The Democrats and Republicans will have two hours apiece to debate the bill, in which House lawmakers can make their closing arguments about the proposal.
After the debate, the plan is for a final vote to be taken. A Republican source close to the process told Business Insider that the GOP leadership expected a final vote on the bill just after 4 p.m. ET.
President Donald Trump has done all he can, and the fate of the GOP healthcare bill is up to the House lawmakers, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Friday.
During his daily press briefing, Spicer said Trump has worked hard at lobbying for the American Health Care Act, the Republican legislation designed to repeal and replace Obamacare.
"The president has been working throughout the week on this, calling starting early in the morning and going until late at night, calling members, visiting members," Spicer said. "By our count as many as 120 members have personally had a visit or call or a meeting here at the White House in the last few days, which is an extraordinary feat."
The press secretary said, however, that Trump was meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan on the future of the bill and that the president can't "force anyone to vote" for it.
"There's no question in my mind at least that the president and the team here have left everything on the field," Spicer said. "We have called every member that has had a question or concern. Tried to take, if possible, any ideas that would strengthen the bill and it's now going to be up to the members of the House to decide whether they want to follow through on their promise" of repealing Obamacare.
Spicer's comments came as concerns grew that GOP leadership does not have enough votes to pass the AHCA in the House. According to the latest count from the New York Times, 33 House Republicans have publicly stated they will vote against the bill. Republicans can only lose 22 votes for the bill to pass.
Spicer told reporters that the vote will go forward at 3:30 p.m. ET, despite reports that GOP leaders were considering pulling the bill.
Representative John Lewis took the podium to deliver a fiery speech urging his colleagues to vote 'no' on the AHCA. Following is a transcript.
JOHN LEWIS:This bill is a shame. It is a disgrace. Mr. Speaker, today my heart breaks for the disabled, for women, for seniors, and working families. My heart aches for those who are living paycheck to paycheck. My heart mourns for innocent little children, whose very lives depend on if their family can pay the bills. This is the right and wrong of this. This is the heart and soul of the matter. We cannot abandon our principles. Mr. Speaker, we cannot forget our values. I fought too hard and too long to back down now. I will fight any bill that turns the clock back to a darker time. I will fight every single attempt to turn a deaf ear, blind eye, and cold shoulder to the sick. To our seniors, and to working families. Mr. Speaker, I will fight every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. I oppose this deal with every breath and every bone in my body. We must not give up. We cannot. I will not give in. Not today, not tomorrow, and never, ever. On this bill there is only one option, and that option is to vote ‘no’. We can do better, Mr. Speaker. We must do better. Vote ‘no’ on this bill.
Former President Barack Obama's spokesman, Kevin Lewis, tweeted a photo on Friday of Obama striking what looks like a boxing pose in the White House on the day the Affordable Care Act passed Congress seven years ago.
Lewis posted the photo minutes after Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan told President Donald Trump that he could not gather the necessary votes to repeal and replace Obamacare.
House leaders pulled the AHCA just 30 minutes before a scheduled vote was to take place.
Republican lawmakers have been promising to repeal Obama's signature healthcare legislation since it was signed into law in 2010.
The failed bill is a significant setback for President Donald Trump's agenda and a particular blow to Ryan, the AHCA's architect.
The picture was taken by White House photographer Pete Souza, who has regularly posted photos of Obama's eight years in office — often with pointed messages— to his substantial Instagram following.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal inspector general has launched an inquiry into the Trump administration's decision to pull advertising for HealthCare.gov in the closing stretch of this year's sign-up season, according to a letter made public Friday.
The unexpected ad pullback soon after President Donald Trump took office was termed "sabotage" by Democrats and former Obama officials. The new administration said the ads were a waste of taxpayer dollars.
In a letter to Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general's office said it has begun a "fact-finding review."
Investigators will look at the Trump administration's actions to stop paid advertising and temporarily suspend other outreach. They'll also review the effect on enrollment, the letter said.
Former Obama officials were outraged by the new administration's actions a few days before the Jan. 31 close of open enrollment. They said there's usually a surge at the end sign-up season, and the ad pullback discouraged prospective customers. Murray and Warren asked the inspector general to investigate.
About 12.2 million people have signed up for coverage this year through HealthCare.gov and state insurance markets, short of earlier Obama administration projections.
In a statement, Murray said HHS has "a duty to provide the public with accurate and timely information so that they can make decisions about their health care."
There was no initial response from the Trump administration.
Two of the biggest news stories collided through the medium of television on Friday evening, as Americans watched the collapse of the American Health Care Act and their favorite NCAA teams play in the Sweet 16.
Commercials thanking Republicans for repealing Obamacare aired near several conservative-leaning television markets — hours after the GOP's Obamacare replacement, the American Health Care Act, was abandoned.
The American Action Network, a center-right advocacy group, purchased airtime for advertisements that encouraged viewers to contact their representatives, and thank them for their work in repealing former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, according to Deadspin. However, the GOP failed to repeal Obamacare on Friday afternoon, having been forced to pull the bill after falling short on votes in the House of Representatives.
"Republicans are keeping their promise, with a new plan for better health care," one of the advertisements said. "Thank [California] Congressman Darrell Issa for keeping his promise and replacing the Affordable Care Act with the better healthcare you deserve."
As of Friday evening, American Action Network had uploaded the ads for 11 lawmakers on its YouTube account. Similar ads ran for Rep. David Valadao of Fresno, California, and Rep. David Young of Des Moines, Iowa.
You can watch one of the ads below:
Paul Ryan strode to the lectern, looking solemn. It was hard to imagine in November, after Donald Trump shocked the world to win the presidency and Republicans gained control of the legislature and the White House.
"Obamacare is the law of the land. It will remain the law of the land until it is replaced,"Ryan said. "We will be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future."
Just 64 days into his presidency, the first major legislative item on the Republican agenda was dead.
Ryan called Trump around 3 p.m. Friday to say what Republican leaders knew all week — they didn't have the votes to pass the American Health Care Act. Trump told him to pull the bill.
The collapse of the AHCA, which became colloquially known as "Trumpcare" and "Ryancare" through the process, capped off a wild 18 days in which the bill was introduced, went through four committees, was amended multiple times, and ultimately failed to garner enough support from House Republicans.
The defeat of the legislation represents not only a short-term failure for one of the biggest parts of Trump's legislative agenda, but also an ominous sign for Republican efforts going forward.
'We came up short'
Ultimately, the AHCA fell flat because Republicans were not able to unite the two disparate wings of the party.
On the one hand, the conservative wing — primarily the House Freedom Caucus a 35-member, more conservative-leaning group — felt the AHCA did not go far enough in its repeal of Obamacare.
The Freedom Caucus had enough ammunition to hold out for a variety of reasons. The caucus was just big enough to block the GOP from obtaining a majority to pass the legislation. They are mostly safe in their districts. And conservative action groups like Heritage Action and Club for Growth were on their side.
Part of the problem came from the GOP leadership, which gave the caucus the ammunition to hold out nearly two years ago.
Then, Republicans passed a "clean" Obamacare repeal bill in 2015, through both the House and Senate. The bill stripped all of Obamacare' taxes, like the AHCA, but also its protections for patients and popular regulations like the ability for a child to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.
Freedom Caucus members who turned against the AHCA repeatedly brought up the 2015 bill as an example of what repeal could look like. And since every member voted to pass that bill, for the Freedom Caucus, it became a question of why they would not simply do that again.
"There's one thing that has united Republicans in when we won the House, in 2014 when we won the Senate, and in 2016 when we won the White House. This doesn't divide Republicans, this brings us together, and that is complete repeal, clean repeal,"Sen. Rand Paul said on March 7.
On the other end, moderate Republicans like the so-called Tuesday Group thought the bill went too far in its changes to the healthcare system.
Facing the prospect of thousands of voters in their district losing their healthcare and seeing backlash from constituents at a variety of town-hall meetings, the AHCA was not palatable to this group.
The issue was exacerbated as the White House and GOP leaders gave concessions to the conservative wing of the party in the final days. Tweaks like the repeal of the ACA's essential health benefits — which compel insurers to provide basic coverage for things like prenatal care and preventive screenings — made moderate Republicans reject the bill.
Additionally, the changes to Medicaid funding in the AHCA — including ending the Medicaid expansion that allowed 11 million Americans to get coverage since the ACA — made moderates move off of the plan.
Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, cited those tweaks when he made a stunning decision to oppose the bill Friday.
"In addition to the loss of Medicaid coverage for so many people in my Medicaid-dependent state, the denial of essential health benefits in the individual market raise serious coverage and cost issues," Frelinghuysen said. "I remain hopeful that the American Health Care Act will be further modified. We need to get this right for all Americans."
The further the bill moved to the conservative edge, the more moderates the GOP would lose — and vice versa. The dynamic made it near impossible for Ryan and the House leadership to find enough votes to pass the AHCA.
High-speed crash and a failed sell
Another factor that contributed to the demise of the AHCA was the speed at which the bill was pushed through the House.
While Ryan and Republican leaders said the bill was going through "regular order," there were few opportunities for debate of the bill and little knowledge of its effects.
The Congressional Budget Office did not issue a score on the bill until it had already moved through two committees — and the full text of the updated bill only became available on Friday, the same day it was supposed to be voted on. The CBO did not issue a score for the final iteration of the legislation.
This speed gave cover for some Republicans who were skeptical of the AHCA. Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a Freedom Caucus member who wavered between undecided and "no" on the AHCA, even said during the debate on the House Floor on Friday that he questioned the speed at which the bill was being passed.
Trump, who initially left the sales pitch to GOP leaders, ended up mounting a furious push in the last few days, meeting with members of the Freedom Caucus a handful of times in the days leading up to the planned vote.
But even at large rallies in Tennessee and Kentucky, where Trump was supposed to drum up support for the healthcare bill, he instead focused on other issues for the bulk of his speech. In fact, in Kentucky, Trump said that the bill has to pass "in some form" so that Republicans could "move on" to other issues like tax reform.
Conservative media latched on to the seeming lack of support from Trump, as well, with conservative outlets like Breitbart opting to call the bill "Ryancare" and pin its shortcomings on the House speaker rather than the president.
Ultimately, Trump decided Thursday night to issue an ultimatum to wavering House Republicans: Pass this bill, or Obamacare stays. It ended up staying, for now.
What it means for the future
The inability to pass the AHCA is only one legislative misstep. But it indicates that Trump's desire to pass sweeping overhauls of taxes, immigration, and trade deals — even must-pass legislation like a debt-ceiling increase — is newly in doubt.
Ryan and Trump both said on Friday that the GOP would move on from healthcare and focus on other legislative priorities.
"Now we are going to move on with the rest of our agenda because we have big, ambitious plan," Ryan said at a press conference.
The AHCA drama proved, however, that the rest of the agenda may not be as easy as that. The struggles proved the Republican conference is diverse, with competing interests and goals.
A push for something controversial like a border adjustment tax, a policy that is favored by House GOP leaders but has drawn fierce resistance from some GOP lawmakers and outside groups, may end up similarly dividing the party. Additionally, Trump has expressed misgivings about the border adjustment tax, similar to his half-hearted approach to the AHCA.
"The differences between dealmaking in New York City and dealmaking in Washington, DC, have never been more apparent; Trump is like a fish out of water," said Greg Valliere, the chief global strategist at Horizon Investments. "He will have to change the subject, quickly, but soon he will face bruising budget battles."
A few days before the American Health Care Act, the Republican replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act, was pulled from the floor of the House of Representatives, House Republicans had a sharp rebuke for chief White House strategist Steve Bannon when he met with them at the White House, according to a report from Axios.
The conversation started off on the wrong foot, with Bannon adopting a tone the report characterized as authoritative.
"Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill," Bannon reportedly said to members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus.
But those in the Freedom Caucus weren't buying into Bannon's opening gambit. "You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn't listen to him, either," said one member of the caucus.
The meeting was part of an effort by the Trump administration to woo Freedom Caucus members – without their support, the bill was doomed.
In the end, the White House and Republican leadership were unable to wrangle enough votes to pass the bill on the floor of the House. Initially, it drew staunch opposition from members of the Freedom Caucus and other conservatives like Kentucky senator Rand Paul. Paul and his colleagues referred to the bill as "Obamacare 2.0" and believed it did not go far enough to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.
When the White House offered some concessions to hardline conservatives to win their support, it lost the endorsement of more moderate Republicans, who felt that the new bill – which rescinded essential health benefits like emergency room care, maternity care, and mental health care – was too harsh and would harm their constituents.
One of the final blows to the bill came when moderate New Jersey Republican and chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rodney Frelinghuysen, withdrew his support for Trumpcare.
The bill ultimately failed despite Bannon's meeting with the Freedom Caucus and President Trump's ultimatum that if the House did not pass the AHCA, Obamacare would stay and the president would move on to the next item on his legislative agenda.
(Reuters) - Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday blamed the Congress for thwarting a Republican plan to overhaul healthcare law, but acknowledged that the White House will need to work with lawmakers to accomplish its next set of legislative plans.
Speaking to a group of small business owners in Charleston, West Virginia, Pence said President Donald Trump is ready to move on to his next priority: simplifying the tax code and cutting tax rates.
"We're going to roll our sleeves up and we're going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses and family farms," Pence said.
"Working with this Congress, President Trump is going to pass the largest tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan, and we're going to get this American economy moving again," he said.
Comprehensive tax reform has eluded previous Congresses and administrations since 1986 when it was last accomplished under former President Ronald Reagan.
Pence made his comments the day after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed to find enough support within its own ranks to pass legislation to roll back Obamacare -- a setback that raised doubts about Trump's ability to deliver on other big promises requiring help from Congress.
Trump and Republicans had campaigned to overhaul former President Barack Obama's health care law, which they have argued is too intrusive and expensive.
"As we all learned yesterday, Congress just wasn't ready," said Pence, who spent a dozen years in Congress starting in 2001, and has been a key emissary for Trump on Capitol Hill.
"With 100 percent of House Democrats -- every single one -- and a handful of Republicans actually standing in the way of President Trump's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, we're back to the drawing board," Pence said.
On tax reform, Pence said Trump wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent to spur investment.
The House of Representatives' tax committee is working on legislation that would cut the corporate rate to 20 percent.
Pence said the White House also would seek to work with Congress to boost funding for the military, roll back regulations on the energy sector, and confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump's pick to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Standing with Linda McMahon, who started and ran World Wrestling Entertainment before being named as head of Trump's Small Business Administration, Pence joked that the White House could use some muscle to work with lawmakers.
"Maybe we could have used a few of your WWE superstars on Capitol Hill yesterday," Pence said.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler)