Obama, Pence Battle On The Hill Over ‘Obamacare’

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — President Barack Obama met with congressional Democrats Wednesday in an effort to save the Affordable Care Act also known as ‘Obamacare.’

President Obama huddled with his party to come up with a plan to prevent massive changes to Obamacare under a unified Congress and White House.

Meantime, Vice President Mike Pence met with his party to discuss how to quickly repeal and replace the law.

But the fight won’t be easy with President-Elect Donald Trump vowing to keep his campaign promise of repealing and replacing the health care law and took his statement to Twitter.

“Republicans must be careful in that the Dems own the failed ObamaCare disaster, with its poor coverage and massive premium increases.”  

“Like the 116% hike in Arizona. Also, deductibles are so high that it is practically useless. Don’t let the Schumer clowns out of this web.” 

“Massive increases of ObamaCare will take place this year and Dems are to blame for the mess. It will fall of its own weight – be careful!” 

Democrats issued their own warning.

“We are united in our opposition by these Republican attempts to make America sick again,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Following Pence’s meeting on overhauling Obamacare, he had a few words for the public.

“Obamacare has failed and it’s been rejected by the American people,” said Pence.

On Tuesday, House Republicans reversed a decision to have a congressional committee oversee the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.

“The people have given us unified government, and it wasn’t because they were feeling generous. It was because they want results,” said Majority House Speaker Paul Ryan.

In his opening speech, Ryan said he plans to take full advantage of a unique opportunity, Republicans in control of the House, Senate and White House for the first time in a decade.

“I intend to keep this place running at full speed,” said Ryan.

Democrats laid out their intentions too. Schumer said they’d work with Trump to a point.

“We’ll fight him tooth and nail when he appeals to the baser instincts that diminish America and its greatness,” said Schumer on Tuesday.

Legislatively there’s little Democrats can do to stop the repeal of Obamacare. Guilt is one of the few tools in their arsenal.

“How are you going to make sure every family is protected with their health insurance plan? Haven’t heard a word,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

The White House insists American’s don’t want to undo the law.

“The prospect of taking it away is a question of life or death for some people,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

But a CBS News poll shows just 1 in 10 Americans think Obamacare is working well and only 8 percent of Democrats believe it should remain unchanged.

“I believe the verdict of the American people has been that Obamacare has failed the American people,” said Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas).

For Republicans, the first day of the 115th Congress was a rocky one.

They held an emergency meeting to undo a closed-door vote they took just one day earlier to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics – a surprise move that triggered bipartisan condemnation and a scolding from President-elect Donald Trump, who tweeted: “do they really have to make the weakening of the independent ethics watchdog…their number one act and priority.”

“I’m concerned that now we have Republicans criticizing Republicans,” said Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

There was unanimous agreement to start again and take a more transparent approach to congressional ethics reform.

“I think we are going to work it through properly. Right, the American people say hey slow down, we want to know what’s going on here,” Rep. David Brat (R-VA).

Congressional committees have until Jan. 27th  to submit legislation repealing major parts of the health care law to their budget committees.

At last check, more than 20 million Americans are enrolled in the Affordable Care Act.

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