White House counselor Kellyanne Conway maintained Sunday that Republicans are “working on a plan” for replacing the Affordable Care Act, days after President Trump surprised members on both sides of the aisle when he declared that the Republican Party “will soon be known as the party of health care.”
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Conway told host Chris Wallace, “The Republican plan is manifold.” But she did not provide specifics, instead going on to attack Democrats over the Medicare-for-all ideas that some in their party have embraced.
Asked by Wallace about criticism that there is no GOP plan, Conway pushed back.
“There is a plan,” she said. “We’ve been working on a plan for a long time. And we hope that Congress would come along.”
“Right, nine years, but you’ve never actually come up with a whole plan,” Wallace responded.
“Well, Donald Trump has been president for two years,” Conway said. “So, give us a chance. . . . We are working on a plan at the White House.”
Shortly before his inauguration in 2017, Trump told The Washington Post that his plan for replacing most of the national health-care law was nearly finished and that he was ready to unveil it alongside House and Senate Republican leaders.
“It’s very much formulated down to the final strokes. We haven’t put it in quite yet, but we’re going to be doing it soon,” Trump said at the time. He added that he was waiting for his first nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, to be confirmed by the Senate.
Price was confirmed in February 2017 and resigned seven months later amid criticism of his use of taxpayer-funded charter flights.
Despite Conway’s assertions, congressional Republicans currently have no intention of crafting a new health-care plan, fearing the potential political damage that such a proposal could cause in 2020, numerous GOP lawmakers, legislative staffers and administration aides told The Post.
Senate Republicans, who were caught off guard by Trump’s rapid shift to focus on health care last week, have said the White House would need to make the first move by putting forward its own proposal. But administration officials said that nothing firm is in the works.
In a court filing this month, the Justice Department argued that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, should be thrown out in its entirety, including provisions protecting millions of Americans who have preexisting health conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health-care plans.
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney argued Sunday that the Trump administration does, in fact, support protections for those with preexisting conditions.
“The debate about preexisting conditions is over,” Mulvaney said on ABC News’s “This Week.” “Both parties support them, and anyone telling you anything different is lying to you for political gain. Preexisting conditions are going to be covered. The debate becomes, how do you best do it?”
In an appearance on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) also faced questions about whether Republicans are proactively working on their own replacement for Obamacare.
“Should the American people expect an actual health-care-plan alternative from the Republican Party this year?” host Chuck Todd asked.
Barrasso did not answer directly, saying only that Americans “should expect to not have to be burdened with the incredible costs that are affecting them now as a result of the health-care law.”
After Todd continued to press him, Barrasso replied, “I’ve been working on a plan since the day I got to the Senate.”
“Twelve years now,” Todd responded.
Toluse Olorunnipa, Seung Min Kim and Robert Costa contributed to this report.