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Trump Supporters On The Failure Of The GOP Health Care Bill


It's been a dramatic week in Washington and not a good one for President Trump or for the Republicans. After the collapse of the Republican's health care bill Friday, Trump tweeted out (reading) Obamacare will explode, and we will all get together and piece together a great health care plan for the people. Do not worry, exclamation point.

So we're going to get out of Washington now and hear from people around the country, people who voted for President Trump. We reached Becky Ravenkamp in Hugo, Colo., Kevin Eisbrenner of Livonia, Mich., and in Cincinnati, Ohio, we spoke with Linda Caudill. I asked Becky Ravenkamp first how she felt about the Republicans' failure to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.

BECKY RAVENKAMP: I am disappointed they couldn't come to some kind of an agreement. I think maybe the trying to roll it out on the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act was maybe misguided. I think they needed to take a little bit more time to get themselves together and get a plan that they could get the votes for.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Kevin?

KEVIN EISBRENNER: Yeah. You know, it's hard to keep up with everything. But I do my best on this. And it just seemed like it was coming in too quick. I mean, it's a very complicated issue, especially with what is already in place. And it really - it didn't address some of the main things they had talked about during the campaign, and this was not a full repeal. So they were doing modifications instead of a full repeal. I think there was problems with that.

The CBO was saying how insurance premiums are going to go up for at least for a few years and then start coming down. I think that's unacceptable for most people because a lot of people, under Obamacare, their premiums have already gone up when they were told it wouldn't. The CBO also said - this was in (unintelligible) - millions more would be uninsured compared to Obamacare. And I think within the political aspect, there was no way it was going to go anywhere in the Senate. So I think those points there, for me, is they didn't do it right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Linda, what's your take?

LINDA CAUDILL: Well, you know, this is purely speculation on my part, but I know that Trump had his own plan. I know Ryan had his own plan. And there was a lot of times where Ryan was against Trump all through the campaign and even up until the election and even afterwards. And then when you look at the Freedom Caucus folks, those folks have always been onboard with Trump. So I kind of feel like this was a coup against Ryan. I think it was a way to let Ryan put his plan out there and let him hang himself with it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. Becky, I want to ask you - who do you blame for what just happened? I mean, the president sold himself as a deal-maker. He said he was going to get this deal done. We have a Republican president, a Republican Congress. Yet they couldn't close the deal. Do you blame President Trump?

RAVENKAMP: No, I don't think blaming anybody is the solution. I think part of what we're seeing is that the Republicans are starting to get their wings. It's going to take them a little while to figure out how to come together and how to create policy.

And it's not just the Republican Party that's in Washington. They're going to have to start reaching across the aisle to the Democrats, bringing them onboard with the things that they can work together on. And I think that since November, it's the first time they've understood that their actions are actually going to lead somewhere. And so it's going to be a process for them remembering how to compromise so that they can get some things done.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do you think that there is something that can be fashioned, specifically on health care, by working with Democrats, Linda?

CAUDILL: I think that's going to be a really, really tough thing to do because the Democrats basically are for entitlements and spending and adding to the debt. And, you know, Trump wants to reduce the debt. And frankly, health care is not a constitutional right. But I really would like, personally, that the government get out of health care altogether and let the free market take care of it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I want to take it away from health care just briefly and focus again on the president. It's been a really rough 60 days for him. You know, members of his administration are being investigated for their ties to Russia, the issue with health care. I'm hearing from you guys you don't blame him, you still support him. How much time do you give him to make good on his promises essentially? Becky?

RAVENKAMP: He's got a lot of things on his agenda that he's trying to move forward that have been pushed aside because they weren't popular and politicians were afraid to even utter the words. So we're talking about immigration. We're talking about national security. It's going to take a while to fix them. And he's not going to walk in there in the first hundred days or the first six months and fix it all.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Kevin, you - your thoughts.

EISBRENNER: Yeah. I agree with her as far as I don't believe there's a clock. I mean, four years - that's the clock right now. And if I think he's done what I needed him to do, then I vote for him again if he runs.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Just briefly, an answer from all of you - when you look at this stuff about Russia - we've seen all these allegations of investigations about the ties of the Trump administration to Russia. Does this worry you at all? Linda?

CAUDILL: No, I think it's all garbage.


RAVENKAMP: Well, they really haven't come out with anything that says - that's convinced me that this needs to be getting so much attention. We've got to keep an eye on them, but I don't know that anything's going to come of all of these investigations and these hearings. And I don't know that that needs to be our No. 1 priority.


EISBRENNER: I mean, it can be looked into - find out exactly what's going on. I mean, there's no harm in looking into it. I think the amount of time spent, it better be warranted. I think a lot - a big majority of it, I think, is smoke and mirrors and red herrings.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Linda, I'm curious - what should be next on President Trump's agenda?

CAUDILL: Well, I would like President Trump to be able to do all the things that he said that he wants to do. However, we've got a lot of factions out there that are working against him. We've got the media working against him. We've got the Democrats. So I don't know the answer to what I would like to have him do next because he's trying to do his job with his hands tied.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Becky, what would you like to see happen next?

RAVENKAMP: Well, I would love to see him make good on the promise of tax reform. Hopefully, that will get the economy growing. That will bring some jobs back to the areas that need it. And so that would be one of the things that I would like to see him move on to.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Kevin, you?

EISBRENNER: Well, I agree. That all ties into the economy. We've got to get that moving. And that's part of the reason I voted for the man is - get somebody in there to have some business know-how and get this economy stimulated. And tax reform's going to be one of the key ways to do that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Thank you very much, it's Kevin Eisbrenner. Thank you for joining us.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Becky Ravenkamp, thank you for joining us.

RAVENKAMP: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And Linda Caudill, thank you so much for joining us as well.

CAUDILL: Thank you very much.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was Becky Ravenkamp of Hugo, Colo., Kevin Eisbrenner of Livonia, Mich., and Linda Caudill of Cincinnati, Ohio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.