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House Conservative Leader Calls Obamacare Bailout Bill ‘Unacceptable’

House Conservative Leader Calls Obamacare Bailout Bill ‘Unacceptable’

The latest attempt at a legislative fix to Obamacare was met with a mixture of hesitance and outright opposition by Republicans who have repeatedly vowed to pass a comprehensive repeal and replace bill.

A bipartisan bill, which was introduced Tuesday by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., would temporarily reinstate the federal payments to insurers that President Donald Trump cut off days ago and, in a nod to Republicans, would allow states limited flexibility in offering cheaper, less comprehensive plans.

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The legislative fix was met with recrimination by top Republican lawmakers hours after its release. Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who chairs the Republican Study Committee, publicly criticized the bill and said he could not support legislation that does not fully repeal Obamacare.

“Obamacare is in a ‘death spiral.’ Anything propping it up is only saving what Republicans promised to dismantle,” Walker tweeted. He elaborated further in a statement posted on Twitter, saying, “The GOP should focus on repealing & replacing Obamacare, not trying to save it. This bailout is unacceptable.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., cast the bill as a costly continuation of Obamacare.

“None of our guys voted for Obamacare,” Cole told The Washington Post. “They’re not very interested in sustaining it.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., refused to commit one way or the other, telling reporters, “We haven’t had a chance to think about a way forward yet,” when asked about the viability of the bill Tuesday afternoon. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., refused to comment.

After casting the bill as a short-term fix to stabilize the market Tuesday, Trump reversed course, tweeting Wednesday that he could not support a bill that reinstates cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, which he recently discontinued.

Trump’s Wednesday tweet represents a significantly more definitive rebuke of the legislation relative to statements he made Tuesday night while addressing The Heritage Foundation.

“While I commend the bipartisan work done by Sens. Alexander and Murray,” Trump said during the Tuesday night speech, “I continue to believe Congress must find a solution to the Obamacare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies.”

Earlier in the day, speaking at the White House, Trump described the bill as a “short-term deal” that would help “get us over this intermediate hump.”

A number of Republican senators insisted on waiting to give their opinion until more details have been released. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., dismissed the idea that the bill represents a quick fix.

“Most of the members of the conference are finding out about the details for the first time. I don’t think anybody beyond Lamar and a few others know,” Kennedy told Politico. “The details are important.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, echoed Kennedy’s sentiment, telling Politico, “I’m going to wait and examine the details.”

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The post House Conservative Leader Calls Obamacare Bailout Bill ‘Unacceptable’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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