Ryan and Pence Are Scrambling To Salvage Obamacare After GOP Dissent Surrounds Them
Speaker Paul Ryan and VP Mike Pence have spent Wednesday trying to win over skeptical conservatives who have become weary of the bill intended to remove Obamacare. Ryan and several GOP leaders scrambled to gain support, even admitting that the bill to repeal and ‘replace’ would need further changes amid conservative dissent.
Afraid of the political blowback that may follow, moderates and conservatives have begun threatening to sink the package, according to POLITICO. After the shaky rollout of the bill, the minor modifications proposed by GOP leaders had left these skeptics unsatisfied. Now, Ryan and his allies are contemplating to gain support in whatever way they can.
Since it was first unveiled two weeks ago, GOP leaders had undercome pressure to modify the bill – several conservatives were left unhappy with the current state of affairs. The Republican leaders’ hopes of passing the bill by next week seem ambitious, as trying to write a bill that may be ‘dead-on-arrival’ would be difficult to pass in the Senate. Currently, many are discontent with the bill.
The budget analysis on Monday revealed that 24 million people could go without insurance under the GOP health proposal. Without any significant changes to help this, strategists warn that the GOP could lose seats in the coming midterms if they fail to fulfill their campaign promises. According to Luke Messer, the Republican Policy Committee Chair, changing the bill in either way would eliminate as many current supporters as it would win over critics. He states, “I think it’s best that that provision stays the way it is.”
However, members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus believe they’ve had enough – their own allies will end any attempt by Republican leaders to ram through the current bill without the changes that will satisfy moderates.
“It’s up for us, moderates and conservatives, to come together,” said Mark Meadows, a Freedom Caucus Chairman. “We’ve had conversations with moderates on what is important to them, and then we’ve to look at what is important to conservatives and I think it we can work out something that accommodates” them.
Now, GOP leaders and allies are debating what changes they should make. Sources say that GOP leaders were open to removing the 30% penalty on those who went without insurance for two months. The measure was intended to encourage people to sign up for coverage, but the backlash from the policy has lawmakers reconsidering rules like these. Another change proposed is to provide more generous tax credits to Americans nearing the age of 65. This stems from the fact that GOP leaders have been facing criticism from older Americans who could face substantially higher premiums.
At the GOP conference meeting, Pence tried to rally all Republicans to get excited about the proposed bill. However, the dissent of conservatives and moderates reminds leaders that there is still much work to be done – the bill must satisfy the American people.