The Republican Party is in uncharted territory, but it’s already beginning to get started.
And the most consequential fight of all — to repeal the Affordable Care Act — is coming to a head in the fall.
In a White House meeting Thursday, President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) agreed on the next steps in a push to make progress on the president’s health care agenda, according to three people familiar with the meeting.
While Trump and Cruz didn’t immediately comment on the meeting, a White Trump administration official said in an email that the two agreed on a number of issues.
One of the key issues was a repeal of the ACA’s taxes, which Trump has pledged to replace by his first 100 days.
The White House official said Trump also agreed to hold a hearing on the ACA tax reform effort in the coming weeks.
The president has said he will not take up a repeal-and-replace bill until after his inauguration on Jan. 20.
But on Thursday, Cruz also said the next step in the repeal- and-replace process should be the Senate.
“We’ve been talking about the repeal bill,” Cruz said.
“The Senate should be doing its job.”
The White Senate has not scheduled a hearing.
The Trump administration is also looking at several options to replace the ACA, including creating a federal healthcare exchange and expanding Medicaid to more states, according an aide familiar with those discussions.
Cruz, the Texas senator, has said the repeal effort should be a separate legislative effort, and that he would like to see more focus on states in their Medicaid expansion efforts.
Trump’s team has also been weighing other options to fix the ACA.
On Friday, the administration is expected to announce a new proposal that could provide subsidies for the purchase of insurance on state and federal exchanges.
That could potentially lead to a major shift in the ACA marketplaces, as insurers would now have to offer coverage to individuals who cannot afford to pay full price.
The administration also is expected soon to announce changes to the tax code that would allow individuals to deduct health insurance premiums from their federal tax returns.
The new proposals could also allow states to opt out of the Affordable Act’s expansion of Medicaid, which would mean some individuals could lose coverage for the first time under Trumpcare.
The most consequential Republican health care push to date comes in the form of a Senate plan to repeal Obamacare.
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.
Ky.), have crafted the bill that the House passed last week and has since passed in the House.
The Senate bill would replace the Medicaid expansion with a block grant that would fund the government at the state level through 2025 and a block-grant program for states that expanded Medicaid.
The legislation would allow states that expand Medicaid to spend that money on their own state exchanges, which could eventually result in higher rates of coverage for low-income people.
But many Republican lawmakers have balked at the idea of allowing states to expand Medicaid because of concerns that they could leave millions without insurance coverage.
That’s led to a push by the House GOP to eliminate the block grant funding.
That proposal has been blocked in the Senate and has been opposed by Democrats.
The House plan also proposes to provide an $8 billion “deficit reduction” tax credit for businesses, while the Senate plan would offer an $11 billion “stimulus” tax relief to the economy.
The latest House version of the health care bill would provide $8 trillion in tax relief, $7 trillion in stimulus relief, and $4 trillion in spending cuts, while adding an additional $3 trillion in entitlement reform.
On Thursday, McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the Senate bill will not be the final product.
“There are going to be changes in the final bill,” Pelosi told reporters.
“And they are not what we’re hoping to have.”
Republicans are also set to release a new healthcare bill this week.
It will replace the Affordable Medicare program, which provides health coverage to more than 10 million low-wage workers.
Republicans want to end the program, and they are looking at eliminating its expansion, which has been in place since 2011.
The Affordable Medicare is set to expire at the end of the year, which is when the current Obamacare enrollment is expected.