After rejecting all proposals put forth by Republican lawmakers, some House Democrats have made a recent declaration to advance proposals of their own that aim to address issues plaguing Obamacare.
This would mark a stark departure from Democrats’ staunch position of discouraging party members from suggesting improvements to the troubled Affordable Care Act (ACA), perhaps fearing that in doing so, it could further expose issues with the failing healthcare act, while they also seek to keep GOP leaders under the gun as 2018 elections draw near.
House Democrats are also changing their tune after getting pushback from constituents about opposing all attempts by Republicans to repeal and replace ACA and refusing to counter back with viable solutions to address its innumerable problems.
Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). told reporters of his constituents, “When I go back to the district, they want to know what you’re going to do,” and adding that “Resisting is no longer just enough, they want to see what your plan is.”
After the Senate voted against the slimmed-down Obamacare repeal in the early hours of Friday, Democrats urged the House GOP leaders to work with them on a bipartisan solution. However, the GOP is still reluctant to let go of their efforts to repeal, with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) telling Senate Republicans Friday to keep up the fight and to “not give up.”
The Hill reports:
The entrenched position of Ryan and House Republicans presents a strategic dilemma for Democratic leaders, who have said they’ll come to the table with specific ACA fixes only if the Republicans discard their insistence on repeal.
“We can go right to the committees and have a discussion on how we keep America healthy,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters.
Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.) also stated, “We have stood ready with ideas and thoughts about how we can mend or improve the Affordable Care Act. So it is really incumbent upon them to come join us and bring us to the table.”
Pelosi, along with House Democrats, are reportedly calling for unification behind specific proposals to reform the ACA.
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is also preparing to float several ACA reforms as early as next week, said Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.).
Furthermore, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) met to discuss ACA fixes and connected with “New Democrats in search of places the groups share common ground,” said CPC Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.).
Adding to the pressure, almost 90 Democrats endorsed four specific reforms –– based on the proposals from the New Democrats and Blue Dogs –– designed to prop up ObamaCare’s struggling individual markets.
The lawmakers later sent a letter to House Speaker Ryan, asking him to consider the reforms. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) claimed that Pelosi supported the letter, “but she wasn’t encouraging us and I think it surprised her, frankly, that there were so many Democrats who put their name on [it].”
Welch was among 40 bipartisan House members who attended closed-door meetings recent – led by the Solutions Caucus – to discuss reaching an agreement on ACA reforms, especially as it relates to individual markets.
“You’re seeing a tremendous amount of urgency among rank-and-file members to make concrete progress and get out of this blame game,” Welch noted. “Unless we’re talking together, concretely, about improvements we’re not going to get anywhere.”
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