President Barack Obama will head to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to meet with House and Senate Democrats on a strategy to block the Republican effort to dismantle his signature health care law.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced earlier this month that repealing Obamacare was the first item on the agenda for the new Congress in 2017 and President-elect Donald Trump has called for the program to be repealed and replaced.
Democratic leaders sent a notice to members on Friday to announce the rare bicameral meeting, and a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide told CNN the session is to “discuss fighting GOP plans to repeal ACA.”
“Next week, Republicans in Congress will once again turn to repealing a law that’s provided coverage to 20 million uninsured Americans, extended consumer protections to many millions more, improved the quality of care offered by our health professionals, and helped slow the growth of health care costs,” a White House official said.
“In light of this, on Wednesday, January 4, President Obama will visit a closed-press meeting of the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses … He will discuss the work still left to do, including the ideas he has put forth to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And he will share his perspective about the dangers posed by Congressional Republicans’ stated strategy to repeal the ACA before proposing any replacement, creating chaos in the health system in the short run – and holding hostage Americans’ health care – while Republicans develop their plan.”
The high-profile visit signals that the President will remain engaged in protecting his legacy, and that Democrats will wage a public and multi-front campaign to raise public awareness about the impact of doing away with Obamacare.
The announcement of the meeting was first reported by Politico.
Democratic leaders have already planned an aggressive public relations effort to highlight the benefits of Obamacare.
House Democrats huddled on a conference call on Wednesday and discussed plans for events in their districts in early January. Senator Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate Democratic Leader, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Vermont Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders also designated January 15th as a “call to action” day for members and advocates around the country to criticize the GOP move to roll back the health care law and showcase the millions of those covered since it was enacted.