‘It Takes Time so You Have to Explain it and Explain it Again”
This is how Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich describes talking to Trump about his Obamacare plan.
“A meeting Friday afternoon between President Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, his former rival in the GOP primaries, had no set agenda. But Kasich came armed with one anyway: his hope to blunt drastic changes to the nation’s health-care system envisioned by some conservatives in Washington.”
“Over the next 45 minutes, according to Kasich and others briefed on the session, the governor made his pitch while the president eagerly called in several top aides and then got Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on the phone. At one point, senior adviser Jared Kushner reminded his father-in-law that House Republicans are sketching out a different approach to providing access to coverage. “Well, I like this better,” Trump replied, according to a Kasich adviser.
“Kasich has proposed paring back some of the ACA’s more generous aspects, such as reducing the number of benefits insurers are required to offer and potentially cutting the eligibility level for Medicaid recipients from 138 percent of the poverty level to 100 percent if there is a stable marketplace with adequate subsidies they can join. He also wants states to have more flexibility in how they manage their Medicaid programs, as well as aspects of the private insurance market.”
“But he has expressed skepticism about turning Medicaid funding into a block grant and opposes any move that would eliminate the coverage many adults in his state now have without a clear path to transition them to new plans.”
“Frankly the reason why people are on Medicaid is because they don’t have any money,” he said Friday. “So what are we supposed to say, ‘Work harder?’ ”
Asked to describe Trump’s reaction to his overall approach, the Ohio governor replied, “What he said is, he found it interesting. . . . It takes time, so you have to explain it, and explain it again.”
This is not just a funny anecdote that says it all about Herr Trump. It also makes you shake your head when you realize that GOP Congress is waiting on Trump for an Obamacare repeal plan. Trump isn’t going to lead the way. But the Congressional GOPers don’t want to get out in front because if they do, Trump will end up tweeting that their plan isn’t any good.
So, rock and a hard place territory.
Boehner says the GOP can never agree on healthcare. They can’t agree within Trumpland either.
“Several people in Trump’s orbit are eager to make bold changes to reduce the government’s role in the health-care system. That camp includes Vice President Pence, who told conservative activists last week that “America’s Obamacare nightmare is about to end,” as well as Domestic Policy Council aides Andrew Bremberg and Katy Talento and National Economic Council aide Brian Blase.”
“Blase, who most recently worked as a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, published a paper in December titled “Replacing the Affordable Care Act the Right Way.” Its conservative blueprint emphasized the “need to reduce government bias towards comprehensive coverage” for all Americans and a revamping of Medicaid, which was expanded under the ACA and added 11 million Americans to the rolls.”
“Medicaid needs fundamental reform with the goals of dramatically reducing the number of people enrolled in the program and providing a higher-quality program for remaining enrollees,” Blase wrote.
“Other White House advisers, according to multiple individuals who asked for anonymity to describe private discussions, have emphasized the potential political costs to moving aggressively. That group includes Kushner, NEC Director Gary Cohn, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.”
See that’s the problem. In many ways the more traditional GOPers are our salvation in the WH. But on ACA and Medicaid, Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller (!) are on the right side of the issue. Or at least the less wrong side.
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