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Trump Invites Senators To Lunch To Bring Healthcare Talks Back From The Dead

Donald Trump will have lunch with Republican senators on Wednesday  – all 52 of them – following the previous day’s ugly demise of a bid to repeal and replace the Obamacare law.

‘I will be having lunch at the White House today with Republican Senators concerning healthcare. They MUST keep their promise to America!’ the president tweeted mid-morning.

‘The Republicans never discuss how good their healthcare bill is, & it will get even better at lunchtime,’ he added. ‘The Dems scream death as OCare dies!’

The president, one West Wing official said Wednesday morning, is ‘completely out of patience’ with Republicans who ‘can’t seem to figure out how to keep the most important promise of their careers. It’s f***ing maddening.’

By laying down Wednesday’s marker, Trump seemed to blithely ignore Tuesday’s tumult that had left his plans in shambles following a trio of defections that appeared to doom the final option in the GOP’s playbook.

By nightfall the GOP’s bill was left to rot. And it was White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders who claimed Obamacare was ‘dead.’

Still, she promised on Tuesday afternoon that ‘this is not a “game over” situation.’ 

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Wednesday morning on ‘Fox & Friends’ that ‘this bill is probably going to get done. The president is probably going to close the deal today, and if that’s the case this bill moves forward.’

After Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell couldn’t muster enough support for an Obamacare replacement package on Tuesday, he announced a repeal-only vote with a two-year delay provision, giving lawmakers ample time to work out a substitute.

But that, too, dissolved quickly with the news that Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska would refuse to support it. 

Capito and Murkowski had voted in favor of a nearly identical bill in December 2015, leading colleagues to attach political motives to their backpedaling.

The GOP holds 52 votes in the Senate, plus Vice President Mike Pence as a tiebreaker, meaning it can afford just two defections. 

By Wednesday morning McConnell was doubling down anyway, calling the three women’s collective bluff. 

‘As I announced last evening, after consulting with both the White House and our members, we have decided to hold the vote to open debate on Obamacare repeal early next week,’ McConnell said on the Senate floor. 

Trump did his share of backpedaling on Wednesday, after saying in a huff that he was ready to let Obamacare die on the vine regardless of the consequences to the nation’s health care consumers.

‘I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll let Obamacare fail,’ the president told reporters at the White House on Tuesday afternoon. ‘We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.’

‘We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they are going to say, “How do we fix it? how do we fix it?” or “How do we come up with a new plan?”‘

‘It will be a lot easier,’ he predicted.

The president’s strategic journey along the contours of Obamacare has had a long arc. 

He initially favored a simultaneous repeal-and-replace approach, telling CBS News just days after the November election that ‘it will be essentially, simultaneously.’

‘It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week. But probably the same day, could be the same hour.’

In the months of wrangling that followed, however, he came to embrace political realities surrounding his own adopted party’s lack of cohesion.  

Along the way he threatened to allow the Affordable Care Act to crash and burn, with insurers pulling out of states and premiums more than doubling in many places as costly coverage mandates met the frigid air of market economics.

Meanwhile, federal lawmakers were squabbling over the devilish details of a replacement package – one that they had more than seven years to work out behind closed doors.

And Trump drifted toward authorizing a repeal-only option like the one Capito, Collins and Murkowski preempted Tuesday night. 

‘If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!’ he tweeted on June 30.

On Tuesday during a House leadership press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan urged the Senate to act one way or another.

The Obamacare system, Ryan said, ‘is collapsing,’ and would result in a single-payer, ‘government-run’ system if a more market-centered approach doesn’t replace it.

‘More and more people don’t even have any choices left, or even one choice,’ he said. 

‘Forty-one per cent of the counties in America have no competition in health insurance. They have one health insurer left. Premiums have doubled. Options are disappearing. Many counties in America now have no health insurers left.

‘So that is just the stark reality of the moment, and so we’re hopeful that the Senate can take the pause that they need to take and move forward on this issue so we can get something done.’ 


(First reported by The Daily Mail UK)   (July 19, 2017)

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