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Senate Democrats Agree to Work with Trump, on One Condition

by Countable | 3.30.17

Since the failure of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), President Trump and some Republicans in Congress have expressed a willingness to work with Democrats on health care reform. At the same time, Trump has continued to blame the bill’s failure in part on Democrats.

Now, all but four sitting Democratic senators have responded by penning a letter to the president, offering to work with him on a new health care reform strategy -- as long as, they wrote, "you abandon your efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and undermine the U.S. health care system." The full text of the letter is below.

The Democrats are asking Trump to rescind an executive order he signed on his first day in office, which gives federal agencies broad powers to dismantle regulations established under the ACA. The order remains in effect despite the failure of the Republican health care bill and could seriously contribute to the "explosion" of the ACA that President Trump has insisted is inevitable.

In the letter, the Senators call on the president to "commit to putting an end to all efforts to unravel the ACA, undermine the health care system, increase costs, or hurt patients, providers and families."

Some moderate Republicans insist collaboration is the only way to get the necessary bi-partisan support to move legislation forward. In a CNN interview on March 25 Sen. Charlie Dent (R-PA), a member of the moderate ‘Tuesday Group’, said:

"If we're going to have a durable, sustainable healthcare reform in this country, it must be done on a bipartisan basis. The failure of the Democrats - and I voted against Obamacare at the time, their failure was they jammed this thing through on a partisan basis and we've been fighting about it ever since. We, as Republicans, should not make that same mistake, trying to jam this thing through, muscle it through on a partisan basis.... We need a bipartisan, durable, sustainable solution."

President Trump has not responded to the Senators’ letter directly, but Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price testified before the House Appropriations Committee that the administration is still committed to deregulation as outlined in the president's January 20 executive order.

— Asha Sanaker

Tell your representatives what you think!

The full text of the Senators' letter:

Dear President Trump:

We respectfully request that you abandon your efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and undermine the U.S. health care system so that we can work together to improve the law and lower the cost of health care for all Americans.

To do that, your Administration must commit to putting an end to all efforts to unravel the ACA, undermine the health care system, increase costs, or hurt patients, providers and families. As a first step, we request that you rescind your ACA executive order signed on January 20th [1].

While we would welcome your sincere interest in bipartisan work to improve quality, lower costs, and expand coverage, we are concerned by your recent statement indicating it would be a good thing to make the ACA "explode," [2] which would hurt millions of Americans. Instead, we urge you to use your executive authority to support a stable, competitive insurance marketplace.

Members of the Democratic caucus remain ready and willing to work with you on policies that would improve the stability of the individual insurance market. We ask that you begin the work of improving health care for millions of Americans by rescinding your January 20th executive order.

Sincerely,

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Thomas Carper (D-DE)

Robert Casey (D-PA)

Chris Coons (D-DE)

Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)

Joe Donnelly (D-IN)

Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Al Franken (D-MN)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Kamala Harris (D-CA)

Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI)

Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

Edward Markey (D-MA)

Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Patty Murray (D-WA)

Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Gary Peters (D-MI)

Jack Reed (D-RI)

Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Brian Schatz (D-HI)

Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Tom Udall (D-NM)

Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Mark Warner (D-VA)

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Ron Wyden (D-OR)

(Photo Credit: Public Domain)

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(317)
  • Brad
    04/01/2017
    ···

    To the members of Congress and the House. I am asking all of you to stop playing politics with our national health care. The American public is so, so tired of seeing all of you from, "both" parties try to one up each other, make the other side look fooling, ext, ext. We sent you to Washington to vote on what you believe is right & wrong, not along party lines. So I'm begging each one of you to grow the hell up and start thinking about what's best for the American people and not yourself and your parties for a change. I can tell all of you that you are going to pay a huge price in 2018 if you look like obstructionist or you have gone to Washington only to be manipulated by your party leaders into being obstructionist. It's time to grow up and to go to work for the American people.

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  • Tom
    04/01/2017
    ···

    I support a bipartisan repair to the Affordable Care Act on a bipartisan basis. I do not support a repeal of the act.

    Like (12)
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  • Stanton
    03/30/2017
    ···

    How about expanding Medicare for all?

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  • Sheri
    04/01/2017
    ···

    Just a reminder government reps. You are all public servants of the American tax payer. You work for us. Now man & woman up, and get to work doing the best you can for the American people. Quit fighting and stalling. Remember what happened at the dawn of this present republic. No taxation without representation. So REPRESENT!

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  • Sarah
    04/03/2017
    ···

    I appreciate the letter, but don't expect cooperation from Donald Trump. Please support Medicare for all with a prescription drug benefit. An increase in taxes would be offset by no insurance premiums to pay, no medical bills, no co-pays, no pharmaceutical bills. It would provide a higher standard of care for all Americans (which is desperately needed and costing us a fortune now).

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  • Daniel
    03/30/2017
    ···

    Thank you Democrats for reaching across the aisle. When envisioned and enacted the creators of the ACA recognized that improvements could and should be made. There has to be give and take on both sides of the aisle. Republicans need something to take home to their constituents as well. I'm crossing my fingers that everyone will put their swords down and get to work for all the citizens of this country. I support bipartisanship.

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  • Vlad
    03/30/2017
    ···

    The House currently has HR 676 which is Medicare for All. Let's have a Senate version too.

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  • Nicole
    03/30/2017
    ···

    Senators Duckworth and Durbin, thank you for signing the letter. I agree. Please also remind #45 and the Republicans in Congress that Republican then-Governor Mitt Romney created the original plan.

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  • KansasTamale
    03/30/2017
    ···

    Agree with the Dems. This dismantling of Obamacare instead of fixing it to make it better is ridiculous. Also rescinding the executive order allowing other entities to dismantle parts of the ACA is a wonderful condition for working with #45.

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  • Karen
    03/31/2017
    ···

    Time for single payer healthcare like all other countries!!

    Like (5)
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  • Sara
    04/01/2017
    ···

    All we want is single payer. Period.

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  • Mark
    03/30/2017
    ···

    Please support the efforts to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve the existing legislation rather that repeal or piecemeal dismantling. The public will thank you for your vision.

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  • Joan
    04/03/2017
    ···

    This is a good place to start fixing the problems with the ACA. The American people do not want the ACA repealed - they want the things that are not working fixed. The Democrats have shown a willingness to collaborate, putting the people's interests above party politics. You should do the same thing. Work across the aisle to do what's in the best interests of your constituents. You work for us. This may be a great time to revisit a single payer system like Medicaid or Medicare for all. We refuse to go backwards.

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  • Shari
    04/01/2017
    ···

    All legislation should be done with bipartisanship. The framers of the constitution counted on congress to be mature enough to enact reasonable laws that did not totally alienate the minority party. In preschool we teach children how to work together for the common good. This seems to be lacking in the republican agenda. All I see being passed are the repeal of protections for the people and the environment. The ACA may be flawed but it provides necessary protections which are essential. The only reason many people have insurance is because of the ACA. Fixing it is the answer rather than repealing it. I know many congress members are beholden to pharmaceutical or insurance companies because their campaigns were funded by them but guess what, you are accountable to your constituents. By taking this job you have sworn to uphold the constitution. Siding with your party or big business is counter to what you have sworn to do. Do your job and listen to your constituents!

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  • Ray
    03/30/2017
    ···

    Set aside partisanship and work on the things that need fixing. Ordinary people cannot obtain affordable healthcare based on the ideology of Ayn Rand. The real issue is that we as a nation must come to grips with the fact that healthcare is a fundamental right, not a privilege.

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  • Katharine
    04/01/2017
    ···

    I'm in total agreement with the letter that Democrats sent to President Trump. Working at reforming our healthcare and not repealing it. We've had far too many years of Republicans obstructing the necessity for compromise and caring more about their party affiliations than for the American people. There was a time I was Democrat, there was a time I was Republican, but now I am Independent. I'm glad that the Democrats still are willing to compromise and are not into obstruction.

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  • Paula
    03/30/2017
    ···

    What we Need is a one payer system that supports our citizens health care and well being without having the insurance companies and drug manufacturers ripping Americans off. Reasonable programs with reasonable monthly rates and reasonable deductibles. We are the only country in the civilised world without guaranteed health care. Shame!

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  • Annette
    03/31/2017
    ···

    Set the conditions and work with the the WH. Don't allow him to get out in front of the message. It's the Democrats saving healthcare for all Americans, not the WH and not the GOP

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  • Candi
    03/30/2017
    ···

    I think this is an excellent stance, however, I do not believe the Trump administration will ever stop trying to repeal the affordable care act. President Trump hates anything associated with President Obama. But keep up the good work, you bring hope the the majority of Americans.

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  • Elizabeth
    03/31/2017
    ···

    The biggest danger to our healthcare system is the GOP eagerness to make sure it implodes. There is a real human cost to that. It is horrifying how eager for tax cuts politicians are that they would actually kill Americans to get them.

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