GOP Leaders to Members: Block Repeal if You Dare

Bill may be set in motion quickly to force a vote
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2017 2:20 PM CST
GOP Leaders May Gamble on Quick ObamaCare Vote
President Trump speaks during his meeting with health insurance company executives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Trump will lay out details of his plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, reports Reuters, but he acknowledged Monday that things are moving more slowly than he'd hoped. "I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject," he said during a meeting with governors at the White House, per Politico. "Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated." (That last line is drawing scorn from critics, as in this post at New York from Jonathan Chait. He faults Trump for "simply pretending the solution would reveal itself over time and would be extremely easy.") Still, Republican leaders remain committed to keeping their promise, and the Wall Street Journal reports that they're moving closer to a risky strategy in the House and Senate: Call a vote and "dare" rank-and-file Republicans to oppose them.

The strategy is a gamble because GOP leaders can afford only two defections in the Senate and 22 in the House, and different factions have threatened to defect over a slew of reasons, including tax credits and Medicaid funding. But a GOP health policy adviser puts it this way: “You’re a Republican, you’ve been running to repeal ObamaCare, they put a repeal bill in front of you," says Doug Badger. "Are you going to be the Republican senator who prevents ObamaCare repeal from being sent to a Republican president who is willing to sign it?” Meanwhile, a new survey suggests that ObamaCare is more popular than ever, but Trump belittled that notion. "People hate it, but now they see that the end is coming and they're saying, 'Oh, maybe we love it,'" he said. "There's nothing to love. It's a disaster folks, OK? So you have to remember that." (More President Trump stories.)

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