Renewed Repeal Talk Puts GOP Leadership On Collision Course With Candidates Under Attack Over Health Law Stances
In recent days, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Steve Scalise, the House majority whip and possible next speaker, have said that health law repeal may be revisited after the elections. Republicans on the trail, though, have been on the defense for months, scrambling to counter Democrats' attack ads saying that the GOP wants to strip away protections for preexisting conditions. The dichotomy is causing tension within the party just a little over two weeks out from the midterms. Meanwhile, McConnell is defending the lawsuit that is at the heart of much of the rhetoric against the GOP candidates, saying, "It's not secret that we preferred to start over."
The New York Times:
Republican Candidates Soften Tone On Health Care As Their Leaders Dig In
In advertisements, in debates and on the campaign trail, Republican candidates are abandoning their promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act and are swearing that they never voted to undo protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions — and never will. But as the candidates seek to assuage voters who say health care is their top issue, their leaders are staying the course, setting up a collision between campaign promises and the party’s agenda should Republicans emerge from the midterms in control of Congress. (Edmondson, 10/18)
Los Angeles Times:
GOP Lawmakers Who Voted For Years To Repeal Obamacare Now Campaigning To Save Popular Parts Of It
Republican lawmakers and candidates across the country are suddenly telling voters they’ll protect preexisting conditions rules, brushing aside the fact that many voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act dozens of times and that GOP leaders pledge to resume that fight in 2019. The shift reflects the growing popularity of Obamacare and Democrats’ success in using the issue to make a compelling closing argument in the midterm races. (Haberkorn, 10/18)
McConnell Defends Trump-Backed Lawsuit Against ObamaCare
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defended the Trump administration’s decision to join a lawsuit that seeks to overturn ObamaCare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. “It’s no secret that we preferred to start over" to repeal and replace Obamacare, McConnell said in a newly published interview with Bloomberg. “So no, I don’t fault the administration for trying to give us an opportunity to do this differently and to go in a different direction.” (Weixel, 10/18)
House GOP Leader McMorris Rodgers Faces Obamacare Backlash
Cathy McMorris Rodgers got an earful about health care on a recent Friday afternoon knocking on doors in the suburban Balboa neighborhood of Spokane. McMorris Rodgers, the top-ranking Republican woman in the House facing the toughest reelection contest of her career, heard one resident complain his wife’s monthly insurance premiums have swelled to over $700 per month. Another agonized about affording long-term care for her elderly mother. Yet another worried whether Medicare would go bankrupt. (Demko, 10/17)
The Washington Post:
Trump Says ‘All Republicans’ Back Protections For Preexisting Conditions, Despite Repeated Attempts To Repeal Obamacare
President Trump expressed support Thursday for one of the most popular provisions of an Obama-era law protecting people with preexisting conditions, even as he has repeatedly promised to scrap the law and his administration is waging a legal fight to overturn it. “All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them,” Trump said in a tweet Thursday afternoon. “I am in total support. Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!” (Sonmez, 10/18)
Trump: All Republicans Will Support People With Pre-Existing Conditions 'After I Speak To Them'
“Did he drop his lawsuit to eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and just not tell anybody?” tweeted Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.). Trump also supported ObamaCare repeal bills in the House and Senate last year that would allow states to get waivers to allow insurers to spike premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. (Sullivan, 10/18)
Will Republicans Keep Their New Promises On Pre-Existing Condition Protections?
With their increasingly ardent campaign promises to protect health coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions, House and Senate Republican candidates will face pressure to keep those commitments if they win in November. GOP leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence, say they want to try again in 2019 to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Last year's GOP repeal bills would have significantly weakened the law's provisions, letting states re-establish the use of medical underwriting by insurers. (Meyer, 10/18)