Obama to huddle with Capitol Hill Democrats to discuss Obamacare game plan – Washington Times
President Obama will huddle with House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday to discuss their fight against Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare in the new Congress.
The meeting will take place in the Capitol Visitor Center’s auditorium and last for about an hour, according to a congressional aide.
Stung by a November election that handed Republicans the keys to health reform, Democrats are brainstorming ways to push back against GOP plans to use a fast-track budget tool to gut the Affordable Care Act in the first months of the new Congress.
Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, and Democratic congressional leaders have called for nationwide rallies during a “day of action” on Jan. 15 to decry the repeal and potential plans to replace Medicare’s open-ended entitlement for seniors with a premium-support model favored by Speaker Paul D. Ryan.
White House guidance provided to Congress said Mr. Obama will thank Democrats during the meeting — first reported by Politico — for helping him drive the uninsured rate to historic lows. He will also discuss ways to strengthen the law.
“And he will share his perspective about the dangers posed by Congressional Republicans’ stated strategy to repeal the ACA before proposing any replacement, creating chaos in the health system in the short run — and holding hostage Americans’ health care — while Republicans develop their plan,” the guidance stated.
Mr. Obama will also sit down with media outlet Vox on Jan. 6 — 14 days before he leaves office — to discuss Obamacare’s “substantive successes and failures, and the political and policy obstacles to come for both Republicans planning to repeal and replace it and Democrats hoping to defend it,” according to a Vox press release.
Republicans say Obamacare is collapsing under its own weight, as insurers flee its web-based exchanges and premiums rise, so it’s time to fulfill its campaign promise and provide immediate “relief” from the law’s mandates and coverage requirements alongside President-elect Donald Trump, who’s publicly backed their plans.
Mr. Obama himself has acknowledged faults within his signature law, though he’d hoped that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would win the election and work with Congress to patch it up.
Instead, Democrats are scrambling to preserve the law by accusing the GOP of rushing to score political points in the new year.
Killing the law without a replacement in hand will imperil coverage for millions, they say, while prompting more insurers to leave the exchanges, leaving enrollees in the lurch while Republicans rely on a transition period to coalesce around a replacement that uses market forces to entice people into coverage.
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