The White House is trying to rebuild momentum for Obamacare repeal after it stalled, yet again, in the GOP Senate last week.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) expected to meet Monday with top aides to President Donald Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about health care reform, said a Cassidy aide and Republican officials. Seema Verma, the top Medicaid official, and White House legislative director Marc Short are also expected to attend.
The meeting comes after Cassidy and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) spoke with the president on Friday to discuss their health care proposal.
Trump pressured aides over the weekend to show progress, and the Graham-Cassidy proposal is seen as one possible way forward. Administration officials have sought to bring together Graham and Cassidy, along with conservative Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), to agree on a proposal. For now, the effort is contained to mostly rank-and-file GOP lawmakers.
Trump spent the weekend attacking Senate Republicans for not passing Obamacare repeal, a replacement bill, or even the “skinny bill” that focused on Obamacare’s coverage mandates. On Monday morning, he threatened again to halt payments for Obamacare subsidies and to reduce congressional health benefits.
“If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?” Trump said.
The Cassidy-Graham proposal does not have a score from the Congressional Budget Office, which would be required if it were to receive a vote under the fast-track budget “reconciliation” method. It seeks to keep most of Obamacare’s taxes except the medical device tax, send federal health care funds to the states in block grants, kill Obamacare’s individual mandate and maintain the requirement to cover people with pre-existing conditions.