President Donald Trump reversed himself on his party’s healthcare bill this week, calling it “mean” and emphasizing the need for something “more generous.”
At a lunch meeting with Republican senators at the White House Tuesday, Trump suggested the Senate needed to “add more money” to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in order to better protect people in the marketplace. He also reportedly called the bill a “son of a bitch.”
It’s not entirely clear why Trump has decided to backpedal from the health bill now. After it passed the House last month, he congratulated House Republicans and lauded the bill, saying:
“I will say this: that as far as I’m concerned, your premiums—they’re going to start to come down. We’re going to get this passed through the Senate. I feel so confident. Your deductibles, when it comes to deductibles, they were so ridiculous that nobody got to use their current plan, this nonexistent plan that I heard so many wonderful things about over the last three or four days after that, I mean it’s—I don’t think you’re going to hear so much right now. The insurance companies are fleeing. It’s been a catastrophe.
“And this is a great plan. I actually think it will get even better and this is, make no mistake, this is a repeal and replace of Obamacare. Make no mistake about it. Make no mistake. And I think most importantly, yes, premiums will be coming down. Yes, deductibles will be coming down, but very importantly, it’s a great plan, and ultimately that’s what it’s all about.”
Elsewhere, Trump said the bill was “very, very, incredibly well-crafted.”
A slightly different version of the AHCA was unable to muster significant support from either the left or right wings of the Republican Party. Moderates were concerned that the bill would raise insurance premiums and cause some 24 million people to lose their health insurance over the coming decade. Conservatives, on the other hand, were primarily concerned that the bill left too many patient protections in place and did not give enough flexibility to state governments.
The revised version of the bill was more attractive for conservative House members, and enabled states to choose whether they wanted to allow states to waive patient protections guaranteed under Obamacare. The revised CBO score, which came out after the bill had passed the House, determined that the AHCA could leave 23 million without health coverage. This reduction in coverage would largely be an effect of slashing $880 billion from Medicaid over 10 years.
The AHCA is now in the Senate for markup. Like their counterparts in the House, Senate Republicans are divided over whether to completely repeal Obamacare or to extend some limited protections to the millions of Americans who benefited from the protections and subsidies provided by Obamacare. Trump’s condemnation of the current text could lend moderate Republican Senators the imprimatur they need to revise the bill to their liking.
After the Senate completes its amendments, the AHCA will go to a conference committee where both bodies of Congress will decide whether to approve it, reject it, or send it back to the House for further revision and review. No Democrats are expected to express support for the Senate’s revisions of the Obamacare rollback.
Check out this video to see more about why the GOP AHCA is just plain wrong (after the jump):
Featured image via YouTube video.