Health Care

Capitol Ink | Senate Hack

White House ‘Only’ Focused Health Care ‘Plan A’
Administration issues harsh warning to would-be undocumented immigrants

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a recent press briefing. On Wednesday, she said the president is solely focused on helping GOP lawmakers pass a health overhaul bill. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

White House officials say they are exclusively focused on helping Republican lawmakers craft and pass a health care overhaul, despite President Donald Trump’s repeated public statements about simply allowing the 2010 law to continue taking on water.

“We’re focused on Plan A,” which is Trump eventually signing a GOP-crafted overhaul bill, said White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “That’s the focus now, and that’s the only focus.”

Podcast: McConnell's Health Care Seesaw
The Big Story, Episode 59

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., after announcing there would be no vote on the health care bill this week. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate majority leader hasn’t abandoned hope of finding 50 votes for the year’s top GOP priority. But postponement over the July Fourth break won’t make it easier to bridge the gap between those focused on Obamacare’s repeal and those worried about too stingy a replacement, Roll Call's Niels Lesniewski and David Hawkings explain.

Show Notes:

Trump Labels Notion He's Not Involved in Senate Health Debate a ‘Joke!’
‘I know subject well,' president tweets about health care after report that he doesn’t

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Senate Republicans at the East Room of the White House on Tuesday to discuss the GOP health care bill. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A day after a vote on a Senate health care bill he backed was delayed, President Donald Trump pushed back against reports that he has not taken a hands-on role in crafting the measure or garnering ample votes to pass it.

Trump used one of his typical morning tweets to lash out at a narrative that has emerged in recent days, including a New York Times piece posted online Tuesday evening, describing the president as not heavily involved in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to piece together a package that would repeal and replace Barack Obama’s 2010 health law and then find the 50 votes to pass it (with Vice President Mike Pence casting the 51st and final necessary vote).

Opinion: Let the Senate Be the Senate Again
The alternative: Taking the road to irrelevance

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Thune conclude a news conference after McConnell announced there would be no vote on the health care bill this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

I have a question for the senators trying to decide whether to vote for the Obamacare repeal bill when it comes up in the Senate:

Did you really fly 1,000 miles in coach for this?

GOP Struggles With Message on Repealing Health Care Taxes
Plans to kill levies imposed by 2010 law slammed by Democrats

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady is the GOP point man for the overhaul of the tax code. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Democrats enacted two taxes on wealthy families to help finance the 2010 health care law, Republicans predicted the levies would be politically unpopular and would not survive.

Now, the GOP faces a partisan messaging battle over plans to end a Medicare payroll surtax and a separate tax on investment income that are both levied on taxpayers earning more than $200,000 (for an individual) and $250,000 (for a married couple).

Capitol Ink | Health Care Reform Fireworks

Pro-Trump Group Pulls Heller Ad After Backlash
Senate Republicans say ads against members of their own party not productive

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said he would not support proceeding to the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A political group aligned with President Donald Trump is pulling its ad targeting a Republican senator for opposing the GOP health care plan, following a backlash from lawmakers who criticized the group for going after a member of their own party.

America First Policies had television ads on the air targeting one Republican and eight Democrats on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The group’s decision to target GOP Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada after he said he would not support the bill drew sharp criticism from Senate Republicans. Politico first reported Tuesday evening that the group is pulling the ad and a spokeswoman confirmed the move. 

Trump Huddles With GOP Senators as McConnell Issues Warning
At White House, majority leader says Republicans would lose leverage in talks with Dems

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, seen here at the Capitol on Tuesday, has major concerns about the Senate health care legislation. She sat next to the president at Tuesday's White House meeting on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump summoned Senate Republicans to the White House on Tuesday to discuss differences that are holding up a GOP leadership crafted health bill, declaring talks are “very close” to producing a deal and that it would be “OK” if the effort fails.

The Republican senators boarded busses outside the Capitol and made the short trek down Pennsylvania Avenue shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced a vote on a still-evolving health overhaul measure would be delayed until after next week’s July Fourth recess. The move offered Trump, who held a Rose Garden victory celebration after the House passed its version in May, an opportunity to again cast himself as the dealmaker in chief.

Rand Paul Says Trump Open to His Health Care Ideas
Not so sure about Senate GOP leadership

Sen. Rand Paul said he had a positive meeting with President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul came away from a meeting on Tuesday with President Donald Trump thinking that the administration would be willing to move the health care reconciliation package in his direction.

Paul has called for more of a straight repeal of the 2010 health care law, rather than the partial repeal and replace represented by the measure crafted by Senate GOP leaders.

Senate Republicans Delay Vote on Health Care Bill
GOP leaders say more time needed to negotiate the proposal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, and Vice President Mike Pence are still looking for the GOP votes to advance their legislation to redo the U.S. health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By JOE WILLIAMS and NIELS LESNIEWSKI, Roll Call

The Senate will not vote this week on a Republican bill to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system despite continued pressure from conservative activists and the Trump administration to act.

Warren: ‘The Next Step is Single-Payer’
Massachusetts senator says it’s time for Democrats to back national single-payer health care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., conducts a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, March 14, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Elizabeth Warrensaid Tuesday that opposing the Republican health care bill wasn’t enough, and the Democratic Party should start running on a new national single-payer plan.

“President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer.”

Kasich on Health Care Bill: ‘Not Acceptable’
Ohio governor says he’s worried about bill’s effects on mentally and chronically ill, and working poor

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, right, and Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper discuss the Senate health care reform bill at the National Press Club on Tuesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich didn’t want to talk about how Ohio Sen. Rob Portman might vote on the Republican health care bill.

“I’ve told him how important I think all this is,” Kasich cut off a reporter in mid-question when asked at a National Press Club event Tuesday about his discussions with Portman on the bill. “I don’t cast his vote. … We’ll see what happens when the card goes in the box — or however they vote in the Senate.”

Paul Ryan Defends CBO Role as Referee
Speaker makes comments one day after White House swipe

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is defending CBO Director Keith Hall and his office amid White House criticism of the nonpartisan agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One day after the White House criticized the Congressional Budget Office as an inaccurate arbiter, amid a heated debate over the effects of the Republicans’ plans to change the health insurance system, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is defending the nonpartisan office. 

“Yeah, he’s actually a Republican appointee. If I’m not mistaken, Tom Price appointed him,” Ryan said Tuesday morning when asked whether he had full confidence in CBO Director Keith Hall. Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services and a key advocate of GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, was previously the House Budget Committee chairman. 

Opinion: Wanted — Three Senate Republicans to End the Mean Season for Health Care
GOP plan is a cure worse than the disease

The health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to push through the Senate needs a response — from three Senate Republicans willing to say no, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

In a January 2010 speech at Hillsdale College, Paul Ryan decried Barack Obama’s efforts to expand access to health care. The future House speaker declared in apocalyptic tones, “The national health care exchange created by this legislation, together with its massive subsidies for middle income earners, will be the greatest expansion of the welfare state in a generation and possibly in history.”

Then Ryan uttered the fateful words: “Our message must be, ‘We will repeal and replace this government takeover, masked as health care reform.’”