GOP charges ahead with ObamaCare repeal

GOP charges ahead with ObamaCare repeal
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Republicans are pushing forward with their plans to repeal and replace ­ObamaCare despite sharp divisions that were not closed by President Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday night.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is planning to mark up ­repeal-and-replace legislation next week, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), a member of the panel, said Wednesday.

However, that action comes as a path forward for legislation in the House remains unclear.

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The divisions have left House Republicans facing a steep climb to win the votes necessary to push a plan through the chamber. And in the Senate, where the 52 GOP members make up only a small majority, it could be even tougher.

Two House chairmen, Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyRepublicans focus tax hike opposition on capital gains change GOP, business groups snipe at Biden restaurant remarks Top Democrat offers bill to overhaul tax break for business owners MORE (R-Texas), presented their plan to GOP senators at a meeting Wednesday afternoon as part of an effort to get the chambers on the same page.  

The splits were apparent in how Republicans reacted to Trump, who laid out a few broad outlines on healthcare in his speech.

Different factions in the congressional GOP simply seized on different aspects of the speech to support their previous positions.

House Republican leadership cited Trump’s endorsement of a tax credit to help people purchase insurance, saying it meant the president was on the same page.

But conservative House Freedom Caucus members, who see the tax credit as a new entitlement, countered that Trump did not say that the tax credit would be refundable and advanceable, which are the elements they object to.

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Leaving a meeting in Ryan’s office Wednesday morning, conservative Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said “of course” when asked if he still had concerns about the tax credits leadership is proposing.

He also said he wants to ensure that Medicaid expansion is repealed and that there is not a “tax increase,” a reference to a proposal in the GOP plan to start taxing some of the more generous employer-sponsored health insurance plans as a way to raise revenue.

Some centrist Senate Republicans, meanwhile, want to protect ­ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid in their states. Repealing the expansion would jeopardize coverage for 11 million people who have gained it.

“I’m very concerned about [a proposal] that would repeal Medicaid expansion,” Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoOfficials warn of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in water systems Graham, Hawley call on Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on US-Mexico border GOP senators urge Biden to keep Trump-era border restrictions MORE (R-W.Va.) said Wednesday. “I don’t think we’re going to go that direction. I hope not, in the House or here, but that would be a major source of concern for me.”

Asked if she is concerned about the House plan, which would repeal the extra federal money for Medicaid expansion, Capito said, “Yeah, I mean we need the extra federal money.”

Sens. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerDemocrat Jacky Rosen becomes 22nd senator to back bipartisan infrastructure deal 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 On The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare MORE (R-Nev.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiEight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division Manchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas moratorium The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Crunch time for bipartisan plan; first Jan. 6 hearing today MORE (R-Alaska) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBiden, Sinema meet as infrastructure talks hit rough patch Feehery: It's time for Senate Republicans to play hardball on infrastructure The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Crunch time for bipartisan plan; first Jan. 6 hearing today MORE (R-Ohio) also have concerns about repealing the Medicaid expansion. Three of them voting no would be enough to sink a bill in the Senate.

But conservative senators, who demand that the Medicaid expansion be repealed, also have enough votes to sink a bill. Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump's Texas endorsement boosts a scandal-plagued incumbent while imperiling a political dynasty Trio of Senate Republicans urges Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia MORE (R-Texas), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill GOP Rep. Cawthorn says he wants to 'prosecute' Fauci Writer: Fauci, Paul clash shouldn't distract from probe into COVID-19 origins MORE (R-Ky.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Trio of Senate Republicans urges Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE (R-Utah) say that Republicans must vote again on the sweeping repeal bill passed in 2015, which did away with the Medicaid expansion.

Paul also slammed the House GOP leadership plan for a refundable tax credit, saying that he could not vote for a bill that included it.

“I don’t think we need a new entitlement program,” he said. “I think it’s a Democrat idea dressed up in Republican clothing. And I think that it’s a deal killer.”

“I think the House Freedom Caucus is saying the same thing; so are several other conservatives in the Senate,” Paul added.

At the Senate meeting Wednesday, Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Tenn.) said there were many questions for Walden and Brady, but they were mostly “technical” in nature.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said the plan the House chairmen presented was “close to” a leaked draft from Feb. 10, but had some differences that he did not specify.

It is unclear when the legislation will be final.

“People needed to hear what the House was thinking ... and it’s not a finished product,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynBiden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on Eight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division Federal officials abroad are unprotected — in a world of increasing volatility MORE (R-Texas).

In the House, Collins said members of the Energy and Commerce Committee would be getting a draft bill Thursday to provide feedback on ahead of next week’s markup.

However, he added that the committee vote is likely to occur before the Congressional Budget Office finishes its analysis of the bill. That means estimates on the bill’s cost and how many people could lose coverage would not be available at the time of the committee vote.

Updated at 8:18 p.m.