President Donald Trump has issued an ultimatum to congress. He is done negotiating. Pass the American Healthcare Act or the President will move onto other priorities, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney has told reporters. The Thursday, March 23 House of Representatives vote was delayed until Friday, March 24 when it became increasingly apparent that the Republican support was not locked down.
This definitive statement from the President comes after several attempts to win votes from key Republican constituencies. President Trump met with the moderates who are referred to as “The Tuesday Group” and House Speaker Paul Ryan met with the conservative groups including the Freedom Caucus. The conservative groups are demanding that the plan remove the Essential Benefits Package (ESP), an Obamacare provision which required the coverage of a minimum of services including maternity care, hospital care, mental health services and emergency care.
The conservatives are also calling for the removal of the coverage of pre-existing conditions and the ability for young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26. The White House has communicated that removing ESP is possible, but that they are standing firm on the pre-existing condition and the coverage until age 26 components.
There are currently at least 31 House Republicans who have communicated that they will not vote for the bill. Key Republican groups including the Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth have been running ads and offering other incentives to persuade their members not to vote for the bill.
House Speaker Ryan remains confident. “For seven and a half years, we have been promising to repeal and replace this broken law because it is collapsing and failing families,” Ryan told reporters Thursday evening. “And tomorrow (Friday) we are proceeding.”
President Trump responded this morning with several tweets. “After seven horrible years of ObamaCare (skyrocketing premiums & deductibles, bad healthcare), this is finally your chance for a great plan!” The President also took a dig at The Freedom Caucus. “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!”
Big day on Capital Hill. Will the AHCA pass or will President Trump move onto other priorities and just let Obamacare “collapse under its own weight?” Stay tuned!
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