Repealing the Affordable Care Act is an “old political battle” that will “strip people of new coverage,” White House officials and congressional Democrats said on a press call Thursday.
“We’re hoping that Republicans will come to their senses and realize how valuable the Affordable Care Act is to the American people, not because the Democrats say so but because the American people believe it,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas.
Among the benefits touted by the administration are the 129 million Americans with preexisting conditions — including 17 million children — who have access to health insurance; the 71 million Americans on private insurance who have benefited from at least one free preventive service; and the 3 million young adults who were allowed to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.
Also on the call was Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., a proponent of mental-health reform and the leader behind the Affordable Care Act’s mental-health parity provision, which provides 60 million Americans access to mental-health and substance-use-disorder services covered by insurance companies at the same rate as other health care services.
“I’ve heard about people who had coverage and they thought it was OK, but then they got sick and got dropped”¦. [There were] many concerns from seniors about high prescription drug costs”¦.This is all changing,” Stabenow said.
The White House’s efforts to drum up attention about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act follow a renewed effort by Republicans to stop the president’s signature law. Sen. John McCain of Arizona on Wednesday introduced a Senate companion bill to the House’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace proposal from Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.
McCain said the law has been a disappointment for Americans who liked their coverage and wanted to keep it. But, the White House responded, repeal would “remove or eliminate” benefits some Americans are already receiving from the law.
“I do admit there are problems, but I say we have to roll up our sleeves together as Americans and fix them,” said Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.
Coverage under the law begins as early as Jan. 1 for consumers who sign up by Dec. 23. The repeal-and-replace proposal could come up as early as Jan. 6, when the Senate returns from the holiday recess.
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."