House Republicans are throwing cold water on hopes there will be a vote next week on a revived ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the centrist Tuesday Group, are nearing a deal on changes to the bill, and the White House is eager for a victory before President Trump’s 100th day in office, on April 29.
But GOP aides and some lawmakers say it seems doubtful the deal, as presented by MacArthur, could win approval in the House.
Just when Americans thought the Obamacare repeal effort was dead and buried, President Donald Trump has exhumed it. The president says he wants a deal on health care before moving on to tax reform and other priorities. The White House is pushing for another vote on a new bill in the coming days.
The trouble is, Trump hasn’t publicly demonstrated an ability to add or subtract provisions, or assemble a bipartisan coalition, to make a good deal happen.
The White House is pushing for another showdown vote on repealing Obamacare next week, to coincide with President Donald Trump’s hitting the 100-day milestone in office.
Legislative text of a new deal that could revive the House Republican bid to repeal Obamacare is likely to be circulated Friday “or by the weekend,” according to two senior White House officials, with an eye toward holding a House floor vote next Wednesday or Thursday.
The Obamacare marketplaces can be thought of as a government-run store. The government gives many customers subsidies, like gift cards, that they can use to buy insurance. But what happens if no companies want to sell their products in the store?
That is the problem that could face Obamacare customers if no insurance carriers show up in a given area, a risk policy makers call the bare-market problem. That risk is growing as the administration sends negative signals about the future of the market. If all the insurers start leaving some stores, consumers there will find their options dwindling, and then their subsidies will become worthless. Most would end up uninsured. The problem could affect as few as dozens of customers — or spread more broadly to affect a substantial fraction of the approximately 11 million people currently enrolled in Obamacare coverage.
On the day the House Republican leadership pulled the plug on its plan to replace Obamacare, President Trump initially responded by saying that the best political move might be to just step back and let the law “explode.”
“It is exploding right now,” he said.
The coming weeks will reveal just how much the president is willing to step forward and nudge the law into collapse. While health care experts disagree on how fragile the Affordable Care Act is on its own, they agree that Mr. Trump has the power to hasten its demise.
The Trump administration released limited fixes Thursday for shaky health insurance markets, even as it reaffirmed its goal of dismantling the Obama-era healthcare law that created them and that covers millions of Americans.
Republicans contend that the Affordable Care Act — also called the ACA or Obamacare — is beyond repair, but their “repeal and replace” slogan hasn’t been easy to put into practice, nor politically popular. So the administration is taking steps to keep the existing system going even as it pursues its ambition of a total remake.
Many of the changes announced Thursday follow recommendations from insurers, which wanted the government to address shortcomings with HealthCare.gov markets, including complaints that some people are gaming the system by signing up only when they get sick and then dropping out after being treated.
President Trump and congressional Republicans finally goaded the health insurance industry into defending the Affordable Care Act this week — sort of. But these companies’ pusillanimous response to the GOP’s direct threat to Obamacare’s survival is a reminder that the industry, which collectively has made hundreds of millions of dollars from the law, has in many ways been its worst enemy.
The health insurers’ rare outspoken defense of the law came via separate letters from the industry’s lobbying arms, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Assn., to Trump and to congressional leaders. The letters warn that the Republican determination to undermine the ACA threatens to drive more insurers out of the individual market, push up premiums and other costs, and burden hospitals with more unpaid bills.
Seven vulnerable Republican lawmakers are being targeted with $1 million in television spots by a liberal group backed by labor and progressive interests. The ads generally focus on the lawmakers’ apparent support for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the failed House bill that was designed to replace the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. The ad tries to capitalize on the interesting shift in public sentiment about Obamacare, suddenly more popular as it has come under legislative assault by the Trump administration.
The Trump administration is sending mixed messages on billions of dollars in federal payments that make deductibles affordable for millions of Americans and are a top priority for health insurers considering whether to sell Affordable Care Act health plans next year.
The administration said it will continue making the payments while a lawsuit that challenged whether they are legal is ongoing. But a spokeswoman stressed Tuesday that no final decisions have been made about the long-term future of the payments or the lawsuit.
“The administration is currently deciding its position on this matter,” Alleigh Marré, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said in an e-mail. “No decisions have been made about how the administration will proceed.”
The Affordable Care Act’s worst enemies are now in charge of the vast range of health coverage the law created. They’re also discussing changes that could affect a wider net of employment-based policies and Medicare coverage for seniors.
Although Republicans failed last month in their first attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, President Donald Trump vows the effort will continue. And even if Congress does nothing, Trump has suggested he might sit by and “let Obamacare explode.”
Health insurance for the 20 million who benefited from the ACA’s expanded coverage is especially at risk. But they’re not the only ones potentially affected. Here’s how what’s going on in Washington might touch you.