The director of the Office of Management and Budget said House conservatives panning the Obamacare replacement legislation are missing out on a “fabulous bill” once all of the pieces come together.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus met with OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on Tuesday to air their concerns about what conservative members have dubbed “Obamacare Lite,” and emerged from the meeting unswayed by the administration’s arguments.
“We ran on full repeal, we expect full repeal,” the caucus said on their Facebook page.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said he’ll be introducing a bill today “which just says clean repeal.”
“We put it on President Obama’s desk. Of course he vetoed it. But let’s put that same legislation on President Trump’s desk and then work on the replacement model that will actually bring down the cost of insurance. I don’t think the plan they introduced yesterday is going to bring down the cost for working class and middle class families,” Jordan, the former chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told MSNBC this morning, adding caucus opposition to the bill endorsed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and President Trump is “strong.”
The Congressional Budget Office has not yet scored the bill, leading to additional outcry from lawmakers who don’t want to move forward legislation with an unknown price tag.
Trump tweeted Tuesday: “Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster – is imploding fast!”
Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill today that the House bill represents “the crown jewel of conservative healthcare reform, to equalize the tax treatment of healthcare so that we can have a vibrant individual market, to have a free market in healthcare, to bring consumers into the market, to put pressure on providers.”
He said House GOP leaders are working “hand in glove” with the White House to bring all Republicans on board, because “this is a team sport.”
Mulvaney told MSNBC this morning “first of all and importantly, this bill is just the first part of a three-phase plan.”
‘We have this bill which deals with everything we can in reconciliation,” he said. “…You put the whole thing together, this is a fabulous presentation and a fabulous bill.”
Predicting that the CBO score would likely be known by Monday, Mulvaney stressed “it’s not unusual for us take up bills in committee without a CBO score, number one — and there’s always amendments at committees that get scored later.”
“You can’t vote on the floor without the CBO score. We all know that. But that CBO score will be there before that final vote. Just as importantly, however, this is a reconciliation bill. We all know it’s going to score positive to helping out the deficit, to spending less money, another thing that conservatives should be supportive of,” he added. “So I hear all the talk about the CBO score. The only question about the CBO, is it going to be really good or is it going to be great when that number finally comes out?”
Asked about how the GOP plan would affect the number of uninsured Americans, Mulvaney replied that “insurance is not really the end goal here.”
“It’s one of the conservatives’, one of the Republicans’ complaints about the Affordable Care Act from the very beginning. It was a great way to get insurance and a lousy way to actually be able to go to the doctor. So we’re choosing instead to look at what we think is more important to ordinary people,” he continued. “Can they afford to go to the doctor? And we are absolutely convinced it would be more possible for more people to get better care at the doctor under this plan than it was under Obamacare.”
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), head of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and a drafter of the House bill, told CNN he “never thought this would be a slam dunk — this was always going to be an arduous uphill struggle.”
“But I’m grateful to have the White House, to have the president talking favorably about the product they will be working on this morning. But make no mistake about it. This is a reconciliation bill. This is, by definition, an intensely partisan process,” Burgess said.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he spoke with Trump on Tuesday about his opposition to the House bill and concluded “the Republicans are in agreement on repeal but we’re not in agreement on replacement.”
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “I feel sure that my friend @RandPaul will come along with the new and great health care program because he knows Obamacare is a disaster!”
“I think the White House, the administration and the president understand that there’s enough conservatives that they can’t pass Obamacare Lite. That’s why this week what’s going on behind the scenes is a charm offensive,” Paul told MSNBC this morning. “Every conservative that has come out publicly opposed to this has been called by the White House and is being cajoled and wooed by the White House to give in.”
“But if conservatives stay together, if we stick together, we will have a force and a negotiation and we will talk about clean repeal versus replacement, if we stick together, because I don’t think they have the numbers to pass this at this point.”