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Lawmakers signal fight for healthcare reform is not over

Lawmakers on Sunday signaled that the fight for healthcare reform isn’t over, despite President Trump being dealt a major defeat when the GOP declined to vote on a healthcare bill that faced failure in the House.

The chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — an instrumental group in dooming in the bill — promised Sunday that the failure of the Republican attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare was not the end of the healthcare debate.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) was echoed by both Republican and Democratic senators who took to the Sunday political shows to say healthcare is not an issue of the past.

The sentiment come after President Trump this weekend signaled he would move on to other legislative priorities — such as tax reform — and put healthcare reform aside in the aftermath of the chaotic week. 

Meadows emphasized that factions of the Republican Party need to find consensus to implement successful healthcare reform moving forward.

{mosads}”This is not the end of the debate,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We may be in overtime, but I can tell you at the very end of the day, the most valuable player will be President Trump on this, because he will deliver. He’s committed to the American people.”

The president last week met with members of the Freedom Caucus in his push to whip up votes for the GOP healthcare plan. But House conservatives wanted the bill to go further in taking apart ObamaCare and were hoping for specific policy concessions from Trump.

Before the bill was pulled, many members of the conservative bloc indicated they wouldn’t vote for it. With no Democrats supporting the measure, the GOP could only afford to lose a handful of members before the outcome was in peril.

On Sunday morning, the president tweeted pointedly that the House Freedom Caucus, along with the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America, “saved” Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare, implying that their refusal to vote had helped perpetuate the healthcare policy they promised to dismantle.

Meadows said there had been no one more “self-critiquing” than himself.

“I can tell you, as I’ve looked at all of this, I’ve said could I have spent a little bit more time, should I have spent more time with the Tuesday Group, more time with Democrats to find some consensus,” he said, referring to the moderate group of GOP House Republicans and adding that conservatives and moderates need to come together to find a shared solution. 

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Sunday said healthcare reform is “absolutely not” behind Republicans.
During an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Lee argued the GOP healthcare proposal was not successful because it did not bring down the cost of healthcare for Americans.
“This bill didn’t pass because it didn’t deal with the most fundamental flaw in ObamaCare,” Lee said, referencing costs.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus also said the fight is not over. 

“Everything’s on the table,” Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’ll give these guys another chance.”

The president is not “closing the door on anything” on healthcare, Priebus said.

He added that the administration would be open to proposals from the other side of the aisle, noting, “Democrats can come to the table as well.”

“And it would be nice to get some Democrats on board. But you’re right, at the end of the day, I think it’s time for the party to start governing,” Priebus said.

He added: “We can’t be chasing the perfect all the time. Sometimes you have to take the good, and put it in your pocket and take the win.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) signaled that Democrats will not let the issue go, saying his party would be willing to work with Republicans if the GOP stops “undermining” ObamaCare.

“We Democrats, provided our Republican colleagues drop replace and stop undermining the ACA, are willing to work with our Republican friends — as long as they say, ‘no more repeal,'” Schumer said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the Affordable Care Act.

“We have ideas, they have ideas to try to improve ObamaCare. We never said it was perfect, we always said we’d work with them to improve it, we just said repeal was off the table.”

Schumer also criticized the president for his comments last week that he would let ObamaCare explode after the legislative defeat.

“For the president to say that he’ll destroy it or undermine it, that’s not presidential,” Schumer said  “That’s petulance … and it’s not going to work.”

The job of the president is to make the lives of Americans better, Schumer added.

“And if he — out of anger or vengeance of whatever — starts undermining ACA, it’s going to backfire on him,” Schumer said.

“Because he’s the president, and the American people know he’s in charge, and they want him to make things better.”

Other lawmakers reiterated that healthcare reform needs to be a bipartisan effort.

“In order to reform healthcare in this country, we’re going to have to do it in a durable, sustainable way and in a bipartisan manner,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said it would be “pathetic” if Democrats and Republicans can’t work together to pass major legislation such as healthcare policy.

“Right now, off the get-go, it’s all partisan,” Kasich said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The Democrats did it with ObamaCare, and it’s not sustainable, and the Republicans tried to do it with just Republicans. It doesn’t work like that in our country. We’re not at parliamentary system, and whenever you continue to operate like that, what you pass will never be sustainable.”

The Ohio governor criticized ObamaCare, saying the former president’s healthcare legislation is “disintegrating.”

“Frankly, if Republicans quietly over time will reach out to Democrats, find constructive ones, and you will begin to marginalize the extremes,” Kasich said.

GOP leadership and the White House spent weeks trying to bring skeptical Republicans on board with their healthcare plan. Conservatives argued the bill didn’t go far enough to repeal ObamaCare and moderate lawmakers worried about backlash in their districts from those who came to rely on the program.

Last week, Speaker Paul Ryan decided to pull the Republican healthcare bill shortly before the House was set to vote on it. At a news conference Friday, the speaker said his party “came up short.”

“ObamaCare will remain the law of the land until it’s replaced,” he said. “We’re going to be living with ObamaCare for the foreseeable future.”

“We came really close today, but we came up short,” he added. 

He said he had previously spoken with the president and told him the best thing to do would be to pull the bill.
“He agreed with that,” Ryan said. “I will not sugarcoat this: This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard.”
Trump on Friday put blame on the Democrats for not supporting the bill, saying “we had no Democrat support, no votes from the Democrats.” The president said the losers were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Schumer.
“When it explodes, which it will soon, if they got together with us and we got a real healthcare bill, I would be totally open to” working with Democrats, Trump said. 
On Saturday, Trump took to Twitter to promise a great healthcare plan — eventually.
“ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE,” the president tweeted. “Do not worry!” 
Tags Chuck Schumer Mike Lee Paul Ryan

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