WASHINGTON, D.C. - Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio's Fourth Congressional District said he wants to pass legislation Republicans promised the American people last November.
That legislation, however, does not include the healthcare bill introduced March 24 by President Donald Trump that was blocked by conservatives in the House of Representatives and which carried over portions of Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Jordan and other congressmen who are members of the Freedom Caucus are asking for two amendments to Trump's legislation that Jordan said would drastically lower premiums.
Trump has been pressuring Jordan and other Freedom Caucus members to back his plan, sending a Tweet Thursday at 5:20 p.m. asking Jordan and Republican congressional Reps. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, and Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, to "get on board" with his proposed healthcare reform that would create "massive tax cuts" and make healthcare "great."
Jordan. in an exclusive interview with The News-Messenger on Friday, said the Freedom Caucus is seeking "good" legislation before voting on healthcare to replace the ACA.
"Tweets, statements and blame don't change the facts," Jordan said. "Even the experts say it doesn't repeal Obamacare. The most telling stat is that only 17 percent of the American people support this legislation."
Jordan and other conservative lawmakers blocked Trump's ACA replacement plan from reaching a vote on the House of Representatives floor last month.
Blocking the bill sent a ripple throughout the nation's capital, even leading Trump to call out conservatives like Jordan in a public Tweet for not supporting the administration's plan.
Jordan on Friday stepped back from his previous demand for a "clean repeal" of Obamacare, saying he wanted to see two changes made to Trump's proposed plan.
"We just want to see changes that will drop premiums," Jordan said. "The first is the mandated coverage issues, that forces certain coverage that people do not want."
He said, for example, that many Americans do not want mental health coverage as part of their insurance while many older citizens do not want insurance for pregnancies.
"There has to be some flexibility," Jordan said.
The second change Jordan called for was for community ratings.
"It's like a 21-year-old driving the sports car that has five tickets who has to pay more for coverage versus the 60-year-old who's never even had a parking ticket," Jordan said. Under the community rating, it is a blanket rate, and everyone pays the same. And it is the higher cost."
Trump sent a Tweet saying the Freedom Caucus will hurt the Republican agenda if they do not align with his administration, adding the need for the GOP to fight the Democrats in 2018.
The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017
Jordan said he and the Freedom Caucus are willing to work to make the legislation better, but changes need to be made, and the American people need to be in support of a proposed bill.
On March 6, Jordan visited Fremont, speaking to the city's Rotary Club, and was adamant that Republicans promised voters a clean repeal of what he called President Barack Obama's "disastrous" healthcare.
"Our plan is ready," Jordan told the room of Fremont Rotarians. "The House Freedom Caucus is ready and it so straightforward and consistent with what we told the voters."
Jordan said the Freedom Caucus' plan is to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act in two years, allowing for the insurance market time to adjust and phasing out of what he calls the nine lies of Obamacare.
Jordan said many Republicans — including Trump — won election because change — especially in healthcare — was promised.
"The key is having legislation consistent with what we told the public we would do," Jordan said. "Let's make these changes."