Virginia Congressman Connolly Discusses Trump's Agenda Following Health Care Defeat

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Washington, March 27, 2017 | comments
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump is vowing to move past last week's failed health care legislation.

The president now must decide on whether to back administrative changes to fix Obama's health care law or undermine it as prices for insurance plans rise in many markets. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted a promise of achieving a "great healthcare plan" because Obamacare will "explode."

The failed GOP bill, which party leaders withdrew shortly before a House vote that was doomed to failure, would have repealed much of former President Barack Obama's health care law. It would have voided its tax penalties on people for not buying insurance, tax increases on high earners and health industry firms, and expansion of Medicaid for low-income people. It would have also blocked federal payments to Planned Parenthood.

"Let me start right here, right now. It is a good thing. Obamacare actually is working. 20 million more people have health care. We now have a series of protections for consumers making it illegal to deny coverage based on pre-existing condition. That's saved," said Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly.

"We have a series of benefits that have to be covered, like pregnancy, like mental health, like drug addiction – that the republicans were prepared to repeal Friday. That's now saved," he said.

Connolly stated that while the Affordable Care Act is not without flaws, Republican cooperation is needed to fix it.

"I mean it was a cataclysmic loss, both for him and Speaker Ryan Friday, when they could not get the votes on their own side of the aisle after seven and a half years of campaigning against – 'The first thing going to do is repeal Obamacare.'"

"What they discovered was,” Connolly said, "Obamacare is a lot more popular than anyone thought. As people start benefiting from it they don't want it to go away. The Republican replacement plan was rejected by public opinion 56 percent to 17 percent."

"17 percent is almost as low as the approval of Congress," Connolly said with a smile.

Trump initially focused blame for the measure's failure on Democrats and predicted a dire future for the current law. On Sunday, Trump turned his criticism toward conservative lawmakers for the failure of the Republican bill, complaining on Twitter: "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!"

Republican now turn their attentions to the first overhaul of the nation's tax system in more than 30 years - as well as the basics - keeping the government open at the end of next month, raising the nation's borrowing authority later this year and passing the 12 spending bills for federal agencies and departments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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