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White House Signals Cruz-Lee May Save Healthcare Proposal This Summer

The best path for getting Obamacare repealed may lie with Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, two conservative leaders whose plan gained key White House backing Sunday.

By Steve Berman

President Trump’s director of legislative affairs, Marc Short, appeared on Fox News Sunday, offering an olive branch to potentially remove Obamacare’s protections for pre-existing conditions. “We hope it’s part of the process of bringing everybody together,” Short said, alluding to Cruz’s “Consumer Choice” proposal.

“We support Senator Cruz and Senator Lee’s efforts,” Short said. “This is similar to efforts that transpired in the House, and we think it’s perfectly appropriate, his amendment.”

Short dismissed a grandstanding call for compromise from Democrat Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Democrats would love for the GOP to pass their own version of Obamacare, left essentially untouched. They’d love to see a replacement plan with no repeal versus a repeal with a later replacement.

Although Trump has at various times indicated he would work with Democrats, his latest messaging is that the new health care plan would pass without a single Democrat vote.

“The president’s absolutely right,” Short said. “They have been obstructionists.”

Ten senators want to work through August to deal with the GOP’s health care reconciliation bill, and place it on President Trump’s desk. Sens. Perdue, Daines, Ernst, Kennedy, Lankford, Lee, Rounds, Strange, Sullivan and Tillis proposed shortening or cancelling the traditional August recess.

If the Senate gets serious about repealing Obamacare this summer, the effort may hinge on Cruz and Lee. If their plan fails to gain enough votes, then the president’s suggestion (finally) that the Senate simply repeal and replace later could be the fallback position.

Either way, this is a good, solid signal from a White House that tends to step on its own messaging with the cadence of an Army platoon on the march.

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