Political News

Trump says he'll be 'angry' if Senate health care bill flops

Posted July 13

— President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will be "very angry" if the Senate fails to pass a revamped Republican health care bill and said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must "pull it off," intensifying pressure on party leaders laboring to win over unhappy GOP senators and preserve the teetering measure.

Trump's remarks came a day before McConnell, R-Ky., planned to release his revised legislation to a closed-door meeting of GOP senators. The new legislation would keep most of the initial Medicaid cuts and makes other changes aimed at nailing down support, but internal GOP disputes lingered that were threatening to sink it.

With all Democrats set to vote no, McConnell was moving toward a do-or-die roll call next week on beginning debate, a motion that will require backing from 50 of the 52 GOP senators.

Conservative Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Wednesday he would oppose the motion and moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine seemed all but sure to do the same — leaving McConnell with zero margin for error to sustain his party's goal of toppling President Barack Obama's health care law. Several other GOP senators were holdouts as well, leaving McConnell and his lieutenants just days to win them over or face a major defeat.

In a White House interview conducted Wednesday for the Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club," Trump said it was time for action by congressional Republicans who cast scores of votes "that didn't mean anything" to repeal the 2010 law while Obama was still president.

"Well, I don't even want to talk about it because I think it would be very bad," he said when network founder Pat Robertson asked what would happen if the effort fails. "I will be very angry about it and a lot of people will be very upset."

Asked if McConnell would succeed, Trump said, "Mitch has to pull it off."

Trump has played a limited role in cajoling GOP senators to back the legislation. Asked Wednesday about the president's involvement, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the White House was providing "technical assistance."

McConnell's new bill was expected to offer only modest departures from the original version.

Its key elements remain easing Obama's requirements that insurers cover specified services like hospital care and cutting the Medicaid health care program for the poor, disabled and nursing home patients. Obama's penalties on people who don't buy coverage would be eliminated and federal health care subsidies would be less generous.

The new package would eliminate tax increases the statute imposed on the health care industry. But it would retain Obama tax boosts on upper-income people, and use the revenue to help some lower earners afford coverage, provide $45 billion to help states combat drug abuse and give extra money to some hospitals in states that didn't use Obama's law to expand Medicaid.

Paul told reporters the revised measure didn't go far enough.

"I don't see anything in here really remotely resembling repeal," he said.

Collins has long complained the measure will toss millions off coverage. Spokeswoman Annie Clarke said Collins would vote no next week "if the Medicaid cuts remain the same" as those that have been discussed.

Besides Paul and Collins, at least three other Republican senators publicly said they hadn't decided whether to back McConnell on the initial vote: conservative Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Utah's Mike Lee and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Cruz and Lee are chief authors of a proposal backed by other conservatives that would let an insurer sell low-premium, bare-bones policies as long as the company also sold a plan covering all the services — like substance abuse treatment — required by Obama's law.

Their plan has alienated moderates worried it will mean unaffordable coverage for people with serious medical conditions because healthier people would flock to cheaper, skimpier plans. Party leaders have not determined if the proposal will be in their measure, and there have been talks about altering it to limit premium boosts on full-coverage policies.

"If there are not meaningful protections for consumer freedom that will significantly lower premiums then the bill will not have the votes to go forward," Cruz told reporters.

Lee has said he wants their proposal in the bill, or something else relaxing Obama's coverage requirements, for him to support it.

Their proposal endured another blow when the insurance industry's largest trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans, said it would lead to "unstable health insurance markets" and said people with serious pre-existing medical conditions could "lose access" to comprehensive or reasonably priced coverage.

Scott said he was still trying to determine if the legislation would help families and consumers with pre-existing medical problems.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who has fought to ease the bill's Medicaid reductions, has also yet to commit to back the measure next week.

McConnell withdrew an initial package two weeks ago in the face of Republican discord that would have spelled certain defeat.

___

AP reporters Erica Werner, Jill Colvin, Matthew Daly and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.

19 Comments

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  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jul 13, 11:35 p.m.
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    Then I guess you have two choices snowflake

  • Ken Ackerman Jul 13, 12:44 p.m.
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    He's completely useless. He's about nothing but hate. He's disrupting Alliances we've had for 100+ years just because he can. He's targeting immigrants he promised he wouldn't, he's planning tax cuts for the ultra rich while kicking poor to the curb. He's trying to make it harder for anyone not rich to go to college, he's trying to make it easier for corporations to contaminate our water, soil, and air. He and his lackeys are creating lists of people to be targeted, either because they are in a federal job and don't fall in line with his idiotic will, or which voters to suppress.

    His voter fraud commission is about targeting people not validating the accuracy of our elections.

  • Edward Anderson Jul 13, 12:35 p.m.
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    Okay, so the man who promised us that he was going to replace Obamacare with something "SO Much Better. Really better. It's gonna be great..." hasn't offered anything other than threats if his own party won't vote for this new law. I have not seen or heard that our dear president has proposed anything specific. Was he part of the small team of lawmakers who were working night and day to craft this new legislation? Did he conference with them? No. He's waiting on Mitch McConnell and his minions to come up with the legislation. No ideas, no meat, nothing that does anything to help anyone. Just Hot Air!

  • Ken Ackerman Jul 13, 11:34 a.m.
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    I call trump a clown as an indication of my contempt for him. There have been other presidents I didn't like but I could still respect them, trump is beneath respect. He's like dog droppings on American's shoes.

  • Joe Messenger Jul 13, 11:00 a.m.
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    How were you able to leave the mental asylum(infowar world)? Go back!!!

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  • Andrew Stephenson Jul 13, 10:54 a.m.
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    So what you're saying, is even though the President has no control over what Congress passes, Obama somehow managed to get something passed, but Trump can't?

    Such businessman. Much wow.

  • Andrew Stephenson Jul 13, 10:51 a.m.
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    There was never any "real" intention of repealing Obamacare. It was all a long con to get people to hate something they didn't understand and even benefitted from, so the politicians that pretended to oppose it could use it as leverage to get re-elected.

    Even the plan they have now, it's only a repeal in name only. They still plan on keeping a bunch of provisions and continue with subsidies, just issued through different means. It's all a big show, and Trump was fooled by it as well.

  • Chris Perdue Jul 13, 10:28 a.m.
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    In 2013 at 45 years old my premium was $93/month for a high deductible H S A plan with a broad network that I could use at 98% of the doctors and hospitals in NC. A comparable plan with a limited network with a higher deductible in now $467/month. ACA is great for those that are subsidy eligible, but for a couple making $35,000 each which is in no way rich, they are not subsidy eligible and there are no affordable options out there for them. It is the middle class that gets whacked again.

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jul 13, 10:24 a.m.
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    He is keeping his promises but other clowns are no letting him. The clowns were the ones that adapted Obamacare in the first place. Obama scammed them like he did American for 8 years

  • Joe Messenger Jul 13, 10:22 a.m.
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    I am going to be really angry if I don't get my big tax cut at the back of dumb deplorables that were duped by traitor Trump.

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