President Trump, using the conservative Freedom Caucus, which opposes the House bill to replace Obamacare, as his whipping boy, issued the following tweet on Friday morning:
Trump was asserting that the bill that he wants passed would prevent Planned Parenthood from continuing, which is not true. The new bill partially "defunds" Planned Parenthood, by eliminating federal funding that can be used for services at the clinics. Thus Medicaid could not be used at Planned Parenthood.
But Planned Parenthood gets roughly 43% of its funding from the government, not 100 percent. Thus Trump’s claim that the Freedom Caucus would allow PP to continue but his bill would not is not accurate, and simply a way to paint the Freedom Caucus into a corner.
The Freedom Caucus’ reasons for opposing the bill stem from the groups attempt to remain true to conservative principles; they want to reduce or eliminate ACA’s “essential health benefits,” additional services that insurance plans are required to cover by law.
The Caucus also doesn’t trust the Senate; House Speaker Paul Ryan insists that if the House strips the essential benefits from the bill, then the Senate couldn’t strip them out, thus preventing the bill from being considered a privileged reconciliation bill that would only need a simple, Republican majority to pass.
Here’s where it gets complicated; Freedom Caucus members and GOP aides assert that Ryan and White House officials have said that the Senate will seek to add a repeal of the essential health benefits to the House bill once they receive it; if the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, rules that the provision is extraneous, it will be eliminated and the rest of the bill will remain intact.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) stated that he got a “a firm, firm commitment from the majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, that he will offer a manager’s amendment to strike out the mandates that are written into Obamacare.”
Trump was asserting that the bill that he wants passed would prevent Planned Parenthood from continuing, which is not true.
But Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), begged to differ, saying, “They have made clear that is their belief. But I have talked to senators who say that not only has it not been adjudicated, but it hasn’t even really been presented in a meaningful way, so that narrative is simply not a narrative based on fact. It’s based on conjecture and belief — which I think it’s a deeply held belief for them, but it’s not based on fact.”