As President Trump and GOP leaders prepare to meet this weekend to chart the Republican agenda for 2018, conservatives are urging high-ranking Republicans to make health care a top legislative priority.
The meeting comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated his chamber will likely move away from repealing ObamaCare in favor of passing bipartisan legislation. Conservative groups are pushing Republicans to try again to gut President Obama’s signature health-care law, but McConnell has acknowledged the effort will be harder now with an even slimmer, 51-49, majority.
“We applaud your success in repealing one of the most despised parts of Obamacare — the individual mandate fines — but millions of Americans are still suffering under the many other provisions of the 2010 health overhaul that remain on the books,” 11 leaders of conservative groups and right-leaning health-care experts wrote in an open letter to Trump, McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
“Americans need relief, and we believe they will hold their representatives accountable at the polls this November,” the letter, published Thursday in The Daily Signal, states. It mentions a bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) as the legislation that “we believe can lead to success.”
In September, a last-ditch attempt at repealing and replacing ObamaCare gained momentum in the Senate, but it became clear the bill didn’t have the support to pass before a Sept. 30 deadline. The Graham-Cassidy bill repealed major provisions of ObamaCare, and in turn, would send the money to states in the form of a block grant.
“We believe this new approach can lead to a successful outcome, and we encourage you to create the path by making reform a priority in your decisions about your 2018 agenda,” the group wrote, adding that, since the fall, they’ve been meeting with congressional leaders, White House officials and health-care policy experts to further fine-tune the policy.
Those signing the letter include Mike Needham, the CEO of Heritage Action for America; Lanhee Chen, of the Hoover Institution and Stanford University; Carrie Lukas, president of Independent Women’s Forum; former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who worked on the Graham-Cassidy bill; and more.