White House: Centrist GOP Senators’ Obamacare Plan at Odds With Trump’s Vision

By Fred Lucas, White House correspondent for The Daily Signal

The White House seemed less than enthusiastic about one Senate Republican plan that would allow states to keep Obamacare, stressing President Donald Trump’s opposition to mandates that drive down competition.

On Monday, four Republican senators released the text of the Patient Freedom Act of 2017 to replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The bill calls for repealing the mandates but would allow states to choose to maintain the mandates, according to the bill’s summary.

The Daily Signal asked Tuesday if this legislation could fall short of Trump’s pledge during the campaign to repeal the law in its entirety.

“First and foremost, let’s get back to what his goal is: We are working with Congress, some of those conversations started last night, staff has been working on a plan to repeal and replace [Obamacare],” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told The Daily Signal during the press briefing. “His goal, first and foremost, is to make sure we give the American people a health care system that is affordable, more accessible, more doctors and more plans.”

With regards to states, Spicer focused on Trump’s opposition to mandates—which could still be in place under this particular GOP Senate proposal.

“How a state chooses to implement that — what I think right now is the idea that we’ve had these mandates requiring people to get things that has driven out competition and driven up costs, is not a health care system he is pleased with and wants to support the repeal of,” Spicer added.

Four senators who are considered centrist or liberal Republicans are the sponsors of the bill: Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

The bill summary says: “Option 1 allows the State to reinstate Title I of the ACA [Affordable Care Act], including its mandates and other requirements.”

In a Senate floor speech, Collins suggested states would opt against it:

“Option one would allow a state to choose to continue operating insurance markets pursuant to all the rules of the Affordable Care Act … More appealing to many states, however, would be what we call the ‘better choice’ option in the Patient Freedom Act that would allow a state to waive many of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act except for vital consumer protections and still receive federal funding to help its residents purchase affordable health insurance.”

*Originally published in the Daily Signal, click here.

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