While you were out, guess what potential damage Trump did to the healthcare bill?
Visiting with Modern Healthcare staff Tuesday, Chip Kahn, CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, raised the question of whether the mounting troubles facing President Donald Trump will hamper Senate Republicans' effort to pass a healthcare overhaul bill.
"With all the controversy around Washington right now, I don't know if there's enough energy for the Senate to complete its healthcare agenda," said Kahn, a former senior Senate GOP staffer.
Some Senate Republicans, including Susan Collins of Maine, John Thune of South Dakota and Ted Cruz of Texas, have acknowledged this peril, while others, such as Mike Lee of Utah, have downplayed it.
Kahn went on to predict the GOP senators may be able to push it through regardless of Trump because it's the marquee Republican issue and they already have a healthcare framework and process in place. That contrasts with the GOP's unformed effort to pass tax reform, where he thinks the Trump effect could be a bigger factor.
Later on Tuesday, Ceci Connolly, CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, stopped for a visit with MH staffers. She also speculated on whether the growing furor over Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, the probe into Russian interference in U.S. political affairs, and Trump's disclosure of highly classified information to visiting Russian officials last week could derail the healthcare legislation.
With the nonstop drumbeat of Trump controversies, "I don't know when I go to sleep and wake up in the morning what Trump tweets I'm going to read about in the morning," Connolly said.
Sure enough, checking my Twitter feed later that afternoon, here's what I read from New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt:
And here's what John Harwood, CNBC's chief Washington correspondent, tweeted about the fresh Trump bombshell:
Connolly, a long-time Washington political journalist, predicted the Senate would pass a healthcare bill regardless of the Trump disruptions because Republicans are dead-set on cutting taxes. And to make budgetary room for permanent tax cuts, they first need to repeal the ACA taxes.
On the other hand, it's really true, she said, that Congress can get bogged down when several big things are going on simultaneously. "We'll see if they can walk and chew gum at the same time this summer," she said.
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