Missouri’s Democratic Senator has responded to President Donald Trump’s call for Republican’s to delay a scheduled recess until they pass a health care plan. Trump told GOP lawmakers Wednesday that “inaction is not an option”. Senator Claire
McCaskill said Democrats could make a deal with the President. “I don’t think he should go play golf until then either. If he would stay away from his golf courses.”
Trump made his comment while meeting with Republican Senators Wednesday, less than 24 hours after Mitch McConnell, the chamber’s GOP majority leader, said a vote to simply repeal the current health care law, known as Obamacare, would take place next week. McConnell later Wednesday reiterated his plan for a repeal-only vote, but indicated a repeal and replace vote could also take place.
Senate Republicans have experienced two stinging defeats recently as two version of a bill to replace Obamacare failed when several party members withdrew support.
GOP leadership has been attempting to change the health care system without any help from Democrats. McCaskill thinks her party erred when it passed Obamacare in 2009 with no Republican votes, and says the GOP is also at fault for doing the same thing.
“I think it was a mistake” said McCaskill. “I think it is a mistake because you need bipartisanship for the country, I think, to accept major reforms. It’s very hard to do reforms in a system that’s as complicated as healthcare, if you begin it by pointing fingers based on a political party.”
Key Republican senators left Wednesday’s health care meeting at the White House Wednesday sounding more optimistic that they could revive their bill to dismantle and replace Obamacare. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) indicated he felt better about that possibility, but said there would still be vote on a repeal-only bill if there was no agreement on a replacement plan.
McCaskill claims calls coming into her office are overwhelmingly against repealing the law.
“Our calls are running about 98% against repeal. I don’t see 98% very often, being from Missouri. Typically, when we have something this controversial, our calls come in 50-50, or maybe 60-40.” McCaskill contends Senators from more conservative states than Missouri are receiving similar phone response.
Congress is set to leave Washington in mid-August, with members returning to their home states for a couple of weeks. President Trump is also expected to be away from the White House for a similar length of time.
During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, McCaskill brought up an option some Democrats are beginning to mention as a possible alternative to the current mandate that almost all people be required to purchase insurance. Under the plan, all those without insurance would automatically be enrolled in Obamacare, with the choice to opt out.
She also mentioned making permanent a reinsurance program, which expired in 2016. The program would provide federal funding to cover 80% of insurance claims between $50,000 and $500,000 from 2018 to 2020, and 80% of insurance claims between $100,000 and $500,000 thereafter.
McCaskill thinks Democrats are willing to negotiate with Republicans over health care under a couple of conditions. “Once you get rid of cutting taxes for wealthy people. And once quit using the repeal and replace as cover for cutting Medicaid, which was never part of Obamacare, then I think you’ve got a lot of Democrats that want to sit down and talk.”
Republicans were to meet again Wednesday evening at the White House with President Trump to further discuss a plan to repeal and replace the current health care law.