Posted: 3:45 am Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
As President Donald Trump goes to Capitol Hill tonight for his first address to a Joint Session of Congress, both parties fully expect him to again sound the call for action on a repeal of the Obama health law, though GOP lawmakers in Congress admit they still don’t have an internal agreement on how best to replace the Obama health law.
“There is no consensus, whether it be in the Senate or in the House at this particular point,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the head of the more conservative House Freedom Caucus, as he vowed to vote against a plan currently being floated by GOP leaders.
Meadows and other Republicans were raising red flags over how refundable tax credits might be used to help people afford health care coverage, along with how the GOP might funnel money to states to pay for Medicaid coverage.
“There are serious problems with what appears to be our current path to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), who heads another House GOP group, the Republican Study Committee.
“What we don’t want to do is create a fourth column of entitlement, when we are already trying to reform the others,” Walker said, as he was trailed by a pack of reporters in a U.S. Capitol hallway, trying to figure how serious these health care disagreements may be within the GOP.
“Every member in this body on the Republican side ran to repeal and replace Obamacare; for us not to do that would be irresponsible,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), who expressed confidence that the GOP will find a way forward, despite some differences at this point.
“I feel very confident,” Yoho said from the Speaker’s Lobby just off the House floor. “The President, the Vice President is committed to it.”
2 yrs ago, the GOP Congress voted to repeal Obamacare. That 2015 repeal language should be the floor, the bare minimum. #FullRepeal
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 28, 2017
Republicans like Yoho acknowledge the next month and a half of action on health care reform won’t be simple.
“We’re going to be working for the next six weeks on Obamacare,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). “I think we’re going to hear his (Trump’s) support on that.”
On Monday, President Trump talked health care with the nation’s Governors, as he admitted finding an agreement might not be the easiest political move.
“I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” Mr. Trump said.
“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”
It’s not clear what exactly the President would support in a bill, as Capitol Hill waits for GOP leaders to reveal the fine print of their health bill.
“There are a number of plans that are working their way through Congress and the Administration,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), who like many other lawmakers is waiting to see what is produced.
President Trump will amplify that call for action on health care tonight before Congress – whether the GOP can follow through is still a question mark.
“We have to do what’s right,” the President said Monday.
“Obamacare is a failed disaster.”
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.