Tags: Healthcare Reform | freedom caucus | republican | moderates | ahca | defeat

Freedom Caucus, GOP Moderates Killed Obamacare Repeal

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Rep. Mark Meadows (AP)

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Friday, 24 Mar 2017 07:28 PM Current | Bio | Archive

No sooner had the White House asked Speaker Paul Ryan to pull the American Health Care Act from a vote by the full House and thus prevent its almost-certain defeat than the finger-pointing began.

"Who killed the repeal of Obamacare?" Republicans nationwide asked, and the fingers of most pundits and pols pointed to the Freedom Caucus (conservative) and the Tuesday Group (moderate) within the 237 House Republicans.

With House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Cal.) confidently predicting to Newsmax two weeks ago that all 183 House Democrats would oppose the replacement of Obamacare, the task of President Trump and Speaker Ryan was simply to hold 216 Republicans in place to reach a majority. (With five vacancies in the House — four Republican seats and one Democratic seat — a majority of those present rather than the full House was needed to enact the bill).

But the Freedom Caucus led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R.-NC) quickly rejected the AHCA (or "Trumpcare," as some called it) on the grounds that it maintained too much of Obamacare. Instead, the 50-something Caucus gave its blessing to an alternative package offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.).

Moderate Republicans told us the inclusion of ending of tax dollars for Planned Parenthood in the AHCA made it difficult for them to vote for the replacement package.

"Defunding Planned Parenthood should be a separate vote from replacing Obamacare," freshman Rep. John Faso (R.-NY) told us, "This is simply playing politics with the issue of health care."

On Friday morning, President Trump tweeted that a vote for the AHCA was "pro-life," and noted that it defunded Planned Parenthood.

Other moderate lawmakers offered different reasons for opposing the AHCA. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) noted that "many South Jersey residents would be left with financial hardship or without the coverage they now receive. Three South Jersey counties have more than 30 percent of their residents receiving Medicaid assistance. Medical professionals - our hospitals, doctors, nurses – are opposed."

Asked Friday about LoBiondo and other moderates opposing the replacement package on the grounds that Medicaid recipients would be harmed, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told us: "One of the things that – not member-specific to either of the members from New Jersey – is that members have to understand that the current system is unsustainable. So if you vote no today, then what is your alternative, and what do you want?"

Talking to Newsmax on Thursday night, former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bob Livingston (R.-LA) voiced fears that if the replacement package was not enacted, Obamacare might remain on the books permanently.

"Unless the White House convinces the Freedom Caucus, Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and other conservative groups that they will never get a better deal than this one," he said, "that if it goes down, they will be responsible for preserving ObamaCare forever, then I'm not sure that anything else can be done."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
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No sooner had the White House asked Speaker Paul Ryan to pull the American Health Care Act from a vote by the full House and thus prevent its almost-certain defeat than the finger-pointing began.
freedom caucus, republican, moderates, ahca, defeat
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2017-28-24
Friday, 24 Mar 2017 07:28 PM
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