President Donald Trump (and most of the GOP) campaigned heavily last year on the message that Obamacare was a failure and needed replacement. Yet, with a GOP-sponsored replacement now facing strong opposition in Congress, Trump is sending a warning to his Republican colleagues.
According to USA Today, Trump held a closed-door meeting with House Republicans on March 7, and warned the attendees of a "bloodbath" in the 2018 midterm elections should Obamacare not be repealed and replaced.
"I cannot comment on the discussions in closed door meetings," Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, told CNN.
Beyond opposition by Congressional Democrats, the GOP is facing its own internal struggle to pass the new American Health Care Act.
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“We are concerned that any poorly implemented or poorly timed change in the current funding structure in Medicaid could result in a reduction in access to life-saving health care services,” four Republican Senators, including Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, Cory Gardner, and Lisa Murkowski, wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, reports Politico.
They continued: “The February 10th draft proposal from the House does not meet the test of stability for individuals currently enrolled in the program and we will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states.”
"What I don't like is, it may not be a plan that gets a majority votes and lets us move on," said Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, notes The Hill. "Because, we can't stay where we are with the plan we've got now. ... I think the nucleus of the plan is clearly there, and the president says it's negotiable and so do House members. ... So, I'll be interested to be a part of that negotiation as we work toward a majority in the House and Senate that puts a bill on the president's desk."
"We cannot toss this out and start all over," an unnamed source present at the closed-door meeting told CNN. "We are too far down the road for that."
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Later that day, Trump tweeted out a message to Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a vocal critic of the new health care bill.
"I feel sure that my friend [Rand Paul] will come along with the new and great health care program because he knows Obamacare is a disaster!"