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Republicans on March 7, and warned the attendees of a "bloodbath" in the 2018 midterm elections should Obamacare not be repealed and replaced.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.
“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."
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!"