Trump Calls Out Mark Meadows Who Stands Strong
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — President Donald Trump called out a North Carolina congressman by name for opposing the GOP health care overhaul.
It happened during a closed-door meeting between the President and House Republicans on Tuesday to drum up support of the bill ahead of Thursday's vote.
Trump singled out Mark Meadows (R-NC), who is the Freedom Caucus Chairman. Meadows has said that his group has enough votes to block the measure.
“I think Mark Meadows will get there too," Trump told the GOP House members, according to The Hill. "...Because honestly, a loss is not acceptable, folks," Trump said.
The Hill reports that Trump added, “Oh Mark, I’m coming after you. I hope Mark will be with us in the end." The President also indicated to the group that a failed vote on Thursday could result in members losing their seats during the primaries.
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The meeting and comments by the President did little to sway Meadows' stance on the health care overhaul.
"I'm still a no," Meadows told our Sinclair Broadcast Group national team. "You know, if this was a personality thing, we wouldn't be having these discussions. This is a policy debate and hopefully we can figure out how to make this bill better for the American people and get to 'yes.'"
Meadows also said that he has had no "indication that any of my Freedom Caucus colleagues have switched their vote."
He said the reason he and the Freedom Caucus are against the current piece of legislation is because it does not lower premiums for most Americans.
When asked what policy changes would get him to change his mind, Meadows said, "Really for us it's about repealing the insurance mandates and essential health benefits, and then replacing them with something that certainly protects pre-existing conditions, and those issues that are important to all Americans."
In regards to the President's indication that failure to vote yes would mean loss of House seats, Meadows said he is not concerned.
"I serve at the pleasure of the people of Western North Carolina and when you serve at their pleasure its only those 750,000 people that can send you home and it's a temporary job and I've known that from day one," Meadows said.
Trump's closed-door meeting with House Republicans came as party leaders released 43 pages worth of changes to a bill whose prospects remain dicey. Their proposals were largely aimed at addressing dissent that their measure would leave many older people with higher costs.
Included was an unusual approach: language paving the way for the Senate, if it chooses, to make the bill's tax credit more generous for people age 50-64. Republicans said the plan sets aside $85 billion over 10 years for that purpose.
The leaders' proposals would accelerate the repeal of tax increases Obama imposed on higher earners, the medical industry and others to this year instead of 2018. It would be easier for some people to deduct medical expenses from their taxes.
Older and disabled Medicaid beneficiaries would get larger benefits. But it would also curb future growth of the overall Medicaid program, which helps low earners afford medical coverage, and let states impose work requirements on some recipients. Additional states could not join the 31 that opted to expand Medicaid to more beneficiaries under Obama's law, the Affordable Care Act.
In a bid to cement support from upstate New Yorkers, the revisions would also stop that state from passing on over $2 billion a year in Medicaid costs to upstate counties, though it exempts Democratic-run New York City from that protection. The change was pushed by Collins, one of Trump's first congressional supporters. Local officials have complained the practice overburdens their budgets.
Republican support teetered last week when a nonpartisan congressional analysis projected the measure would strip 24 million people of coverage in a decade. The Congressional Budget Office also said the bill would cause huge out-of-pocket increases for many lower earners and people aged 50 to 64.
Democrats have opposed the GOP repeal effort. They tout Obama's expansion of coverage to 20 million additional people and consumer-friendly coverage requirements it imposed on insurers, including abolishing annual and lifetime coverage limits and forcing them to insure seriously ill people.
House approval would give the legislation much-needed momentum as it moves to the Senate, which Republicans control 52-48 but where five Republicans have expressed opposition.