GOP Repeal Bill Left Too Much of Washington Power Grab in Place

The federal government has been too involved in regulating America’s health care system for years.

Yes, long before the unaffordable “Affordable Care Act,” aka Obamacare, came along, Washington was picking winners and losers in health care.

The unfair tax treatment of health care started post World War II when we began giving tax breaks to those getting health care via their employer but not to others like the self-employed and the small business owner. More meddling occurred in the 1960s with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. And it continued in the 1980s when Congress passed a law guaranteeing free emergency room care to both the uninsured and illegal immigrants.

And then came the mother of all meddling: Obamacare. It came with a huge push to not only expand Medicaid, but to take over what was left of the private insurance market through government mandates and regulations.

This was the one of, if not the chief reason, voters wanted to see Obamacare repealed. Its regulations were taking away their doctors, their health care choices–and imposing premium prices many could no longer afford.

Obamacare’s regulations alone were responsible for driving premiums costs up by as much as 68 percent.

For example:

  • The Essential Health Benefits mandate and actuarial requirements that forced insurance plans to include coverage many Americans don’t want, don’t need, and definitely can’t afford, raised premiums nationally by over 16 percent, and in some states, over 30 percent.
  • Adding newly uninsured people to the rolls, not surprisingly, caused an uptick in the sickness of the population in insurance markets. Nationally that drove up premiums by 4 percent, but in some states like Ohio, it contributed to a more than 35 percent hike.

And then there is the age factor. It’s a basic fact of life that the older you are the more health care you are going to need and consume. Insurance markets have long recognized this. But Obamacare mandated they lessen the differences older people versus younger people paid.

The result? National averages show young people will see rate increases of almost 60 to 90 percent.

No wonder far fewer than needed young and healthy Americans have decided to risk paying a fine than sign up for health care.
But getting rid of Obamacare’s architecture, the latest in a long line of Washington attempts to regulate our lives, was not in the GOP’s most recent repeal and replace legislation.

And this is why that attempt failed and a new repeal effort is now underway.

No amount of tinkering with other factors will make up for the costs Americans will pay or privacy we will lose if we allow Congress to leave this Washington power grab in place.

The post GOP Repeal Bill Left Too Much of Washington Power Grab in Place appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Freedom Caucus Is an Ally, Not an Enemy in Draining the Swamp

President Donald Trump’s tweet that it’s the House Freedom Caucus that “we must fight” shows there may be a little confusion about what “draining the swamp” means or, at the very least, what it looks like.

I thought draining the swamp meant changing the culture not just in Washington, but of Washington. I thought it meant putting an end to business as usual, making deals behind closed doors, and the mentality that Washington knows best.

I thought it meant politicians would start doing what they promised voters they would do.

I truly thought that lawmakers fresh from the 2016 election, in particular Republicans, would do their due diligence in draining the swamp by getting rid of the government regulations and mandates forced on individuals and businesses in an effort to run more and more of our lives.

But, perhaps I was wrong.

Because if that is what draining the swamp looks like, then the House Freedom Caucus should be considered a loyal and reliable ally in that battle, not the enemy. They are a part of the solution, not the problem.

Republicans in Congress and running for Congress promised for seven years to repeal Obamacare. Candidate Trump changed the mantra to “repeal and replace.”

Fine. But if you promise to do both, then you have to do both.

The best strategy to do both would have been to repeal Obamacare first, as Republicans had agreed on before, and then debate in an open process the new reforms (the replace parts) that would improve our health care system from where it was even before Obamacare became the law of the land.

There was precedent for doing it this way. In early 2016, then-President Barack Obama vetoed a bill that repealed Obamacare—a bill overwhelmingly supported by the Republican-led House and Senate.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the former Freedom Caucus chairman, reintroduced this bill and encouraged GOP leaders to use it instead.

Meanwhile, weeks before GOP leaders unveiled their flawed American Health Care Act, the Freedom Caucus officially threw its support behind conservative health care reform legislation introduced by Paul and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.

From that moment in mid-February, it was clear where House conservatives stood on the matter of replacing Obamacare.

But congressional GOP leadership, perhaps at the urging of the White House, decided they wanted to do it differently.

OK, fine. But the way they went about doing it was to pull out the old Washington playbook.

Draft the bill behind closed doors first. Then hold hearings on a compressed (and frankly artificial) timeline so that lawmakers are allowed little opportunity to read and understand the bill, offer amendments or debate, discuss and work out compromises among their colleagues.

And lawmakers certainly won’t have time to have a conversation with their constituents about how the bill will affect them and get their feedback.

When all was said and done, the bill was more replace than repeal.

Yes, it capped federal Medicaid spending. Good.  However, though Obamacare had expanded it, Medicaid was not a new program. So, that was more “reform” than “repeal.”

But new federal regulations, such as the essential benefits and preventative care mandates, which made up the architecture and web of Obamacare and were the primary drivers of higher premiums, were left in place.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., left, and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., arrive at the White House for a House Freedom Caucus meeting with President Donald Trump during the latter stages of the debate over the American Health Care Act, March 23, 2017. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., left, and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., arrive at the White House for a House Freedom Caucus meeting with President Donald Trump during the latter stages of negotiations over the American Health Care Act, March 23, 2017. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)

At the end of the day, the legislation did not repeal the parts of Obamacare that had expanded the role of government in its takeover of the private health care market.

Here’s what you’re not hearing from GOP leadership or the White House: Freedom Caucus members wanted to get to “yes”—even more than their centrist Republican colleagues. Conservatives were even willing to swallow some of the bad policy in the American Health Care Act.

But neither GOP leadership nor the White House would budge on the disastrous Obamacare regulations that are driving up your premiums.

And that is Washington as usual. It’s OK to tinker with the financing of government programs as long as the government remains in control of said programs—in this case, in control of what makes up private insurance plans.

And that is why those who support draining the swamp should be thankful the House Freedom Caucus played a role in stopping what Republican Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie labeled #SwampCare.

Even now, as Freedom Caucus members try to collaborate with centrist Republicans, they’re getting unfairly blamed by Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump. In fact, one of Trump’s closest House allies, Rep. Chris Collins of New York, had this advice about working with the Freedom Caucus: “If that call comes in just hang up.”

GOP centrists seem to be following that advice. After a productive meeting between six centrists and six conservatives earlier this week, the centrists abruptly canceled a follow-up discussion.

We also know that at least 17 centrist Republicans were on the record in opposition of the bill. Had the bill come to a vote, that number could’ve doubled given the unpopularity of the legislation and lingering concerns among centrists.

So why is GOP leadership blaming the Freedom Caucus?

After all, conservatives were doing what they promised voters: repeal Obamacare. Presented with a flawed bill, they tried to make it better—even if it meant major compromises.

Their reward? Facing the scorn of a Trump tweet.

One thing is clear: There are too many Republicans who would prefer to keep Obamacare rather than repeal it, and those claiming they want to “drain the swamp” need to figure out, and figure out fast, what that means.

Let’s applaud the Freedom Caucus, and certainly not fight them.

The post Freedom Caucus Is an Ally, Not an Enemy in Draining the Swamp appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Freedom Caucus Is an Ally, Not an Enemy in Draining the Swamp

President Donald Trump’s tweet that it’s the House Freedom Caucus that “we must fight” shows there may be a little confusion about what “draining the swamp” means or, at the very least, what it looks like.

I thought draining the swamp meant changing the culture not just in Washington, but of Washington. I thought it meant putting an end to business as usual, making deals behind closed doors, and the mentality that Washington knows best.

I thought it meant politicians would start doing what they promised voters they would do.

I truly thought that lawmakers fresh from the 2016 election, in particular Republicans, would do their due diligence in draining the swamp by getting rid of the government regulations and mandates forced on individuals and businesses in an effort to run more and more of our lives.

But, perhaps I was wrong.

Because if that is what draining the swamp looks like, then the House Freedom Caucus should be considered a loyal and reliable ally in that battle, not the enemy. They are a part of the solution, not the problem.

Republicans in Congress and running for Congress promised for seven years to repeal Obamacare. Candidate Trump changed the mantra to “repeal and replace.”

Fine. But if you promise to do both, then you have to do both.

The best strategy to do both would have been to repeal Obamacare first, as Republicans had agreed on before, and then debate in an open process the new reforms (the replace parts) that would improve our health care system from where it was even before Obamacare became the law of the land.

There was precedent for doing it this way. In early 2016, then-President Barack Obama vetoed a bill that repealed Obamacare—a bill overwhelmingly supported by the Republican-led House and Senate.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the former Freedom Caucus chairman, reintroduced this bill and encouraged GOP leaders to use it instead.

Meanwhile, weeks before GOP leaders unveiled their flawed American Health Care Act, the Freedom Caucus officially threw its support behind conservative health care reform legislation introduced by Paul and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.

From that moment in mid-February, it was clear where House conservatives stood on the matter of replacing Obamacare.

But congressional GOP leadership, perhaps at the urging of the White House, decided they wanted to do it differently.

OK, fine. But the way they went about doing it was to pull out the old Washington playbook.

Draft the bill behind closed doors first. Then hold hearings on a compressed (and frankly artificial) timeline so that lawmakers are allowed little opportunity to read and understand the bill, offer amendments or debate, discuss and work out compromises among their colleagues.

And lawmakers certainly won’t have time to have a conversation with their constituents about how the bill will affect them and get their feedback.

When all was said and done, the bill was more replace than repeal.

Yes, it capped federal Medicaid spending. Good.  However, though Obamacare had expanded it, Medicaid was not a new program. So, that was more “reform” than “repeal.”

But new federal regulations, such as the essential benefits and preventative care mandates, which made up the architecture and web of Obamacare and were the primary drivers of higher premiums, were left in place.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., left, and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., arrive at the White House for a House Freedom Caucus meeting with President Donald Trump during the latter stages of the debate over the American Health Care Act, March 23, 2017. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., left, and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., arrive at the White House for a House Freedom Caucus meeting with President Donald Trump during the latter stages of negotiations over the American Health Care Act, March 23, 2017. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)

At the end of the day, the legislation did not repeal the parts of Obamacare that had expanded the role of government in its takeover of the private health care market.

Here’s what you’re not hearing from GOP leadership or the White House: Freedom Caucus members wanted to get to “yes”—even more than their centrist Republican colleagues. Conservatives were even willing to swallow some of the bad policy in the American Health Care Act.

But neither GOP leadership nor the White House would budge on the disastrous Obamacare regulations that are driving up your premiums.

And that is Washington as usual. It’s OK to tinker with the financing of government programs as long as the government remains in control of said programs—in this case, in control of what makes up private insurance plans.

And that is why those who support draining the swamp should be thankful the House Freedom Caucus played a role in stopping what Republican Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie labeled #SwampCare.

Even now, as Freedom Caucus members try to collaborate with centrist Republicans, they’re getting unfairly blamed by Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump. In fact, one of Trump’s closest House allies, Rep. Chris Collins of New York, had this advice about working with the Freedom Caucus: “If that call comes in just hang up.”

GOP centrists seem to be following that advice. After a productive meeting between six centrists and six conservatives earlier this week, the centrists abruptly canceled a follow-up discussion.

We also know that at least 17 centrist Republicans were on the record in opposition of the bill. Had the bill come to a vote, that number could’ve doubled given the unpopularity of the legislation and lingering concerns among centrists.

So why is GOP leadership blaming the Freedom Caucus?

After all, conservatives were doing what they promised voters: repeal Obamacare. Presented with a flawed bill, they tried to make it better—even if it meant major compromises.

Their reward? Facing the scorn of a Trump tweet.

One thing is clear: There are too many Republicans who would prefer to keep Obamacare rather than repeal it, and those claiming they want to “drain the swamp” need to figure out, and figure out fast, what that means.

Let’s applaud the Freedom Caucus, and certainly not fight them.

The post Freedom Caucus Is an Ally, Not an Enemy in Draining the Swamp appeared first on The Daily Signal.

House Republicans Renew Plans to Repeal Obamacare After Failed First Attempt

Just four days after House Speaker Paul Ryan declared Obamacare the “law of the land,” House Republicans say they’re moving forward with their plan to repeal and replace the health care law despite the divisions in their party on how to reform the health insurance market.

Ryan and members of his leadership team reaffirmed their support for unwinding the Affordable Care Act during a weekly press conference with reporters Tuesday, saying that their first failed attempt to replace Obamacare wouldn’t deter them from moving forward.

“We’re not going to retrench into our corners or put up dividing lines,” Ryan said after a meeting with Republican lawmakers. “There’s too much at stake to get bogged down in all of that.”

The renewed focus on repealing Obamacare came after Ryan decided to withdraw the House GOP’s health care bill Friday, a decision made after it became clear there wouldn’t be enough votes to pass it.

Republicans released their plan to repeal the health care law and implement parts of a replacement at the beginning of the month.

But the bill lacked a natural constituency.

Instead, both centrist Republicans and conservatives decried the plan—conservatives disliked it because they felt it wouldn’t lower the cost of premiums, and centrist Republicans felt it didn’t do enough to protect those newly enrolled in Medicaid.

After pulling the bill, Ryan told reporters “Obamacare is the law of the land” and stressed that Republicans would instead move on to other items on their agenda, like tax reform.

But by Tuesday morning, Republicans appeared to have regrouped, and Ryan stressed the GOP conference would continue to work toward gaining consensus on a replacement plan even as they tackle other legislative priorities.

“We’re going to get this right,” Ryan said, “and in the meantime, we’re going to do all the other work we came here to do.”

Any path forward on Obamacare’s replacement is going to require agreement between conservatives and centrist Republicans, factions of the party that opposed the House GOP’s health care bill for different reasons.

But the two groups appear willing to further engage in talks over health care reform.

According to The New York Times, the House Freedom Caucus and centrist Tuesday Group are engaging in talks with Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s top strategist.

And even Ryan, who said Friday some Republicans in the House couldn’t get to “yes” on the bill, told reporters Tuesday that Republicans would “sit down and talk things out” until they compromise.

“We saw good overtures from those members from different parts of our conference to get there because we all share these goals, and we’re just going to have to figure out how to get it done,” the speaker said.

Ryan wouldn’t elaborate on any details of a new plan or on a timeline. But some conservatives are already plotting their own path.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., filed a bill Friday that fully repeals Obamacare. Brooks, along with some conservatives, also may use a legislative tool that would force a floor vote on a bill dismantling the health care law.

The plan requires Brooks to collect 216 signatures on a discharge petition. Once that happens, and after the legislation has remained in committee for 30 days, the lower chamber would be forced to vote on the bill.

“We will find out who is truly for repeal of Obamacare and who is not,” Brooks told reporters.

The post House Republicans Renew Plans to Repeal Obamacare After Failed First Attempt appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Voters Reward Freedom Caucus’ Stand on House Health Care Bill

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., opposed the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and his constituents love him for it, according to a Monday report from Politico.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan attempted to pass the bill that would eventually replace the Affordable Care Act’s provisions with the full support of President Donald Trump last week, but the bill was unable to get the full votes required to pass the House by Friday, a deadline set by the Trump administration.

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“This is the face of leadership!” a local tea party’s poster read. “Thank Mark and all those who gave us an opportunity to get health care right.”

“I respect him for staying true to his principles,” local resident Jerry Moore told Politico. “Trump promised repeal. That was no repeal.”

Voters in Meadows’ North Carolina district didn’t view the Republican bill as an actual replacement of Obamacare, and view the Freedom Caucus’ refusal to budge on the issue as simply keeping to their promises.

Despite supporting Trump from the beginning, the president called Meadows out specifically when he came to Capitol Hill last week.

“Mark, I’m gonna come after you,” Trump said at the meeting last Tuesday, half jokingly.

Not everyone supported the Freedom Caucus’ decision. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, officially resigned membership of the group of lawmakers Monday, citing concerns with the group’s strong opposition to the Republican health care plan.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Voters Reward Freedom Caucus’ Stand on House Health Care Bill

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., opposed the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and his constituents love him for it, according to a Monday report from Politico.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan attempted to pass the bill that would eventually replace the Affordable Care Act’s provisions with the full support of President Donald Trump last week, but the bill was unable to get the full votes required to pass the House by Friday, a deadline set by the Trump administration.

dcnf-logo

“This is the face of leadership!” a local tea party’s poster read. “Thank Mark and all those who gave us an opportunity to get health care right.”

“I respect him for staying true to his principles,” local resident Jerry Moore told Politico. “Trump promised repeal. That was no repeal.”

Voters in Meadows’ North Carolina district didn’t view the Republican bill as an actual replacement of Obamacare, and view the Freedom Caucus’ refusal to budge on the issue as simply keeping to their promises.

Despite supporting Trump from the beginning, the president called Meadows out specifically when he came to Capitol Hill last week.

“Mark, I’m gonna come after you,” Trump said at the meeting last Tuesday, half jokingly.

Not everyone supported the Freedom Caucus’ decision. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, officially resigned membership of the group of lawmakers Monday, citing concerns with the group’s strong opposition to the Republican health care plan.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Freedom Caucus Members: Health Care Debate ‘Isn’t Over’

In the aftermath of the House GOP’s health care bill being pulled from a vote Friday, conservatives vowed to continue working with the fractured Republican conference toward health care reform.

“This is not the end of the debate,” Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina and chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said on ABC’s “This Week.” President Donald Trump, he added, “will deliver” on health care reform.

Republicans had scheduled a long-awaited vote Friday on the American Health Care Act, a bill that would have partially repealed Obamacare. But after failing to win the support of members of the Freedom Caucus, along with some centrist Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill.

The Freedom Caucus is a group of roughly 40 conservative lawmakers in the House. Its members, including Meadows, vocally opposed the proposal because they didn’t believe it would lower insurance premiums, among other concerns. The bill had the support of Ryan and the Trump administration.

Trump initially blamed Democrats for the defeat, suggesting he understood the Freedom Caucus’ opposition.

“This is a hard time for them,” he said of the Freedom Caucus. “This is a hard vote.”

But on Sunday, Trump shifted to lay blame on the Freedom Caucus and outside conservative groups who opposed the legislation, including The Heritage Foundation and Club for Growth.

Trump tweeted on Sunday:

“Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!”

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, is the parent organization of The Daily Signal. Heritage’s lobbying affiliate, Heritage Action for America, formally opposed the repeal and replace bill brought forth by Ryan and the White House.

Responding to Trump’s tweet, Meadows, who played an integral role in the negotiation process said, “If [Democrats] are applauding, they shouldn’t.”

“Conversations in the last 48 hours,” Meadows added, “are really about how we come together in the Republican conference and try to get this over the finish line.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the GOP’s health care defeat “a victory for the American people.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, called on the factions of the Republican conference to unite.

“Let’s stop doing the blame game and get back to work and do what we told the American people we were going to accomplish, which is repeal Obamacare and replace it with a patient-centered health care program,” Jordan said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Freedom Caucus, Jordan added, did the country “a favor” in opposing the bill because it “didn’t repeal Obamacare.”

It is unclear whether the GOP will be able to fulfill its promise to repeal and replace Obamacare before Congress moves onto other legislative priorities such as tax reform.

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, a former Republican senator from South Carolina, responded to Trump’s allegation in a series of tweets.

“.@POTUS Unfortunately experts agreed AHCA wouldn’t truly repeal Obamacare & lower premiums, agree with you we can now get better bill,” DeMint tweeted.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., another member of the Freedom Caucus, took to Twitter Sunday to respond to Trump’s allegation that blocking the American Health Care Act  “saved Planned Parenthood.”

“I take it GOP leadership still hasn’t told Trump the [Planned Parenthood] provision was a 1 [year] bait and switch? See page 23 of [Congressional Budget Office report],” Massie said.

Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said it is now incumbent on Republicans to “find some consensus.”

“It’s incumbent upon those two groups, the conservatives and the moderates, to come together, hopefully in the coming days, to find some consensus, to present something to the president that certainly not only gets him 216 votes, but, hopefully, 235 votes,” Meadows said.

“To put a stake in it today would not be accurate, and nor would be the narrative that this is a great failure for the president.”

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Trump-Backed Health Care Bill Stalls. Here’s How Other Presidents Responded to Early Setbacks

President Donald Trump’s next moves might be some of the most important of his presidency.

“So now we are going to go for tax reform,” @POTUS says.

On Friday, he suffered a legislative defeat on the House bill to replace Obamacare, delivered in part by members of his own party in Congress. Presidential historians say how Trump navigates the health care bill, called the American Health Care Act, pulled for lack of support, could determine the future of his presidency.

Republican leaders decided to pull the bill when it was clear it did not have the votes to pass. Trump talked about moving forward on to another issue–tax reform.

“It was the number one issue for Trump, he picked it,” presidential historian Craig Shirley told The Daily Signal. “If Trump steps forward and says: ‘I’ll do better next time,’ it won’t be debilitating for him. If he points fingers and blames others, it won’t go away.”

During remarks to reporters in the Oval Office Friday afternoon, Trump didn’t blame the House Freedom Caucus or Republican leadership for the health care bill’s failure to pass, but noted not a single Democrat supported the reform.

“We will probably be going right now for tax reform, which we could have done earlier, but this really would have worked out better if we could have had some Democrat support,” Trump said. “Remember, we had no Democrat support. So now we are going to go for tax reform, which I’ve always liked.”

Shirley, the author of “Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980,” noted President Jimmy Carter failed to increase the gas tax, reform the federal bureaucracy, and couldn’t get key nominees confirmed—even with a Democratic Congress. These setbacks in the first couple of months, “crippled his presidency going forward,” Shirley said.

By contrast, Ronald Reagan was buttressed by big early victories in his first year on tax cuts, budget cuts, shooting down Libyan planes, and built a strong aura of winning.

“Politics is about motion. He can move to another executive order or another piece of legislation,” Shirley said.

Because so much is about perception, Trump might be able to bounce back from a stinging defeat if his nominee Neil Gorsuch is confirmed to the Supreme Court, said Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy for the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, a nonprofit education group.

“If Gorsuch is confirmed, which is likely, that’s what people would talk about, and it would make wonderful political theater, and Trump, the former TV star, knows the value of that,” Mahaffee told The Daily Signal.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare was a key item on his first 100-day plan. But the plan also included tax cuts, energy policies, and rebuilding the military that a Republican Congress might have more quickly embraced.

Since taking office, Trump has moved aggressively with executive orders on matters such as immigration, infrastructure and energy. On Friday, Trump announced the final permit for moving forward on construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Health care has been such a thorny issue for past presidents, and Mahaffee said Trump might have focused on racking up other legislative victories for momentum—such as tax reform or national security policy.

“Former presidents have sapped so much political capital on health care. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both lost the Congress over the issue,” Mahaffee said. “Even [George W.] Bush after being re-elected, spent his political capital on Social Security reform. That made his push for immigration reform much harder.”

Trump said he expects to return to addressing Obamacare, because it’s going to “explode.”

“It’s going to be an experience that leads to an even better health care plan,” Trump said. He later added, “I know some of the Democrats and they’re good people. I honestly believe the Democrats will come to us and say look, let’s get together and get a great health care bill or plan that is really great for the people of our country.”

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What House GOP Leadership Should Do Now on Obamacare Repeal

This afternoon, the House canceled a scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act—the House leadership bill to partially repeal Obamacare—once it became clear that there were not the votes for passage.

While the bill contained a number of provisions that were good conservative policies, a major reason it fell short was that too many members were concerned the bill did not go far enough in dismantling Obamacare’s regulatory architecture.

Indeed, the key to the case for repealing Obamacare is the need to undo the law’s regulatory takeover of private insurance and reverse its cost-increasing effects. That is not only a policy objective, but also a political imperative.

Voters elected candidates who pledged to repeal Obamacare because they understood that pledge to mean, first and foremost, a commitment to undo the cost-increasing mandates and regulations that Obamacare imposed on their private health insurance.

The best course now would be for House leadership to draft a new bill that takes as its starting point the repeal of those Obamacare provisions that dictate the benefits and design of private insurance plans, and which have driven up coverage costs.

Doing that would be a case of good policymaking for good politics.

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Trump Calls House Freedom Caucus ‘Friends,’ Says Health Care Bill Was ‘Hard Vote’ for Them

Following House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to withdraw a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare, President Donald Trump attempted to mend the factions of the Republican conference and reiterated his support for the House Freedom Caucus.

“This is a hard time for them,” Trump said of the Freedom Caucus. “This is a hard vote.”

Republicans were supposed to vote on the plan partially repealing and replacing Obamacare on Friday. But Ryan notified members this afternoon he decided to pull the health care bill after a number of conservative and centrist Republicans rebelled against it.

During a press conference with reporters, Ryan indicated that it was the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 40 conservatives, who prevented the legislation from passing.

“We were on the cusp of fulfilling a promise that we made. We were on the cusp of achieving an ambition we all had for seven years, and we came a little short,” Ryan said. “We came close, but not quite there.”

Members of the group opposed the bill because they didn’t feel it would lower premiums. The conservative lawmakers wanted to repeal Obamacare’s insurance regulations, but GOP leaders would only commit to giving states authority over one of the regulations, the essential health benefits requirement.

While Ryan pointed to the bloc of conservatives as a reason why the conference failed to come to a consensus, Trump reiterated his support for the group.

“They’re friends of mine,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “I’m disappointed because we could’ve had it. I’m a little surprised, I could tell you. We really had it. It was pretty much there within grasp, but I’ll tell you what’s going to come out of it is a better bill.”

Trump noted that the health care bill didn’t have support from any Democrats and said that “Obamacare is exploding.”

But the president said he hopes now Republicans and Democrats can come together a craft a bipartisan health care reform bill that passes both chambers of Congress.

“I honestly believe the Democrats will come to us and say let’s get together and get a great health care bill or plan that’s really great for the people in this country,” Trump said, “and I think that’s going to happen.”

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