Can Republicans Find an Obamacare Replacement to Agree On?
The (second to) last man standing in the 2016 election, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, paid a visit to the White House on Friday to talk healthcare with President Trump. Kasich, who has been a mild but persistent critic of the president, reportedly spent 45 minutes with Trump and his aides, laying out his concerns about the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Sources say that Trump was quite taken with Kasich’s arguments, even getting HHS Secretary Tom Price on the phone to relay some of the governor’s ideas. One report said that Jared Kushner piped up at one point to remind President Trump that Kasich’s proposals were at odds with the ones currently favored by the House Republican leadership, to which Trump replied: “Well, I like this better.”
Kasich isn’t a supporter of the ACA, but he seems to favor a much lighter form of repeal than many conservative in Congress. He wants to cut back some of the regulations, such as forcing insurers to offer certain benefits, but he is not a fan of the GOP’s plan to scale back the Medicaid expansion and replace it with block grants.
On CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Kasich went public with his concerns.
“I think there are some very conservative Republicans in the House who are going to say, ‘Just get rid of the whole thing,'” Kasich said. “That’s not acceptable when you have 20 million people, or 700,000 people in my state. Because where do the mentally ill go? Where do the drug-addicted go?”
Kasich continued: “Republicans can go and do what they want, but at the end of the day, I’m going to stand up for the people that wouldn’t have the coverage if they don’t get this thing right. And I happen to believe that the best way to get this right over time is for both parties to work together. I know that’s considered an impossibility now, but what’s at stake is not some political thing. What’s at stake here are 20 million Americans.”
Over on ABC’s This Week, Rep. Jim Jordan said there was no room for Republicans to compromise with Democrats on healthcare.
“We didn’t tell the American people we’re going to repeal it – except we’re going to keep some of the tax increases that some are talking about,” said Jordan. “We told them we were going to repeal it and replace it with a market-centered, patient-centered plan that actually brings back affordable health insurance.”
With Trump promising that Republicans will be ready to publicly reveal their plan by the end of March, there isn’t much time left for Congress and the White House to decide on the final details. And considering how much political capital both entities have wrapped up in the repeal of Obamacare, there isn’t much room for them to get it wrong.