President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned House Republicans of major political consequences if they vote against legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don’t get this done,” Trump reportedly said during a meeting with House lawmakers on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Trump to House Rs on AHCA vote: "I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don't get this done."— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) March 21, 2017
Trump: House majority could be cooked if health care fails: "Many of you will lose you seats in 2018 if you don't get this done."— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) March 21, 2017
The House will vote on the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), the controversial bill meant to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare, as early as Thursday. The legislation needs 216 votes to pass the House, but infighting within the Republican ranks has made its passage less than guaranteed.
As it was introduced earlier this month, the AHCA would change the structure of Medicare and Medicaid, eliminate Obamacare’s individual mandate, and swap subsidies for health insurance payments for tax credits based on age. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million Americans will go without health insurance. But Republicans are pushing for changes to the legislation before it goes up for a vote, including limits on Medicaid eligibility and cheaper health insurance options for seniors. Those changes have not yet been made public.
Americans remain skeptical of the GOP plan, according to a Harvard-Harris Poll published on Monday. A majority of respondents, 51 percent, said the AHCA would be a backstep for healthcare in the U.S., while 21 percent saw it as an improvement. Obamacare, meanwhile, has stronger support now than ever.
By speaking to House lawmakers on Tuesday, Trump, who has vowed that changes will be made to improve the AHCA, put the weight of the presidency behind the bill, a move House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) cheered as an unmitigated success.
Ryan says Trump "knocked the cover off the ball" in his remarks to House GOPers today.— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) March 21, 2017
“Trump was first rate in every way,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told CNN. “He was truly spectacular. This is part of the job that he enjoys and excels at—closing the deal.”
As the House moves toward a vote on the AHCA, all eyes will shift from right to left among House Republicans, with the roughly 30 members of the far-right Freedom Caucus saying the bill is not conservative enough, and the 23 Republicans from Democratic-leaning districts already wary that it already goes too far.