White House Presses for PPACA Vote This Week

Trump offers to support Obamacare subsidies if Dems okay cash for his border wall

The Trump administration continues to push for a House vote this week to dismantle the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which the president said is “in serious trouble,” according to a Bloomberg report.

Speaking on “Fox Sunday News,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said that the Senate Budget Committee has sent language on the health bill to the House as negotiations between Congress and the White House continue.

When House members return from their Easter recess on April 25, they are expected to focus on a must-pass bill to keep the federal government funded beyond April 28. Still, the Trump administration sees no “structural reason” why the House couldn’t also vote on a health-care plan this week, Mulvaney said.

Representative Dave Brat (R-Virginia), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, however, said that the health-care vote will more likely come in early May.

Brat said that the divisions between party conservatives and moderates, which undid the House’s previous effort, are being addressed in a compromise that Vice President Mike Pence helped broker.

On April 19, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) commented that lawmakers were negotiating “finishing touches” on their second attempt at overhauling the PPACA.

Asked in an interview whether the latest bill would actually repeal the PPACA––one of Donald Trump’s key campaign promises––Representative Tom McArthur (R-New Jersey) bluntly said “No.”

“This is not repealing Obamacare,” he said. “This maintains the rough structure of Obamacare.”

To appease rebellious conservatives, McArthur––co-chairman of a group of House moderates––brokered an amendment that would allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions in states that have a waiver. To obtain the waiver, states would have to provide sick people priced out of commercial insurance access to a so-called “high-risk pool” run by the federal government, or establish their own, and satisfy certain other conditions.

McArthur noted that after more than 50 symbolic votes in the House to repeal the PPACA, and with a Republican president as well as GOP control of both the House and the Senate, there still isn’t enough support to accomplish that goal.

In related news, the White House has told Democrats that for every dollar they allow in the spending measure to go toward the planned wall on the U.S.–Mexico border, the administration would agree to equal funds to continue PPACA subsidies that help reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers.

“ObamaCare is in serious trouble,” President Trump recently tweeted. “The Dems need big money to keep it going––otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought.”

Source: Bloomberg; April 23, 2017.