On Wednesday, conservative policy leaders met with reporters at the Heritage Foundation to discuss the framework for Republican health care reform. The policy experts admitted that Republicans start with a “credibility gap” on health care, but argued that limited government approaches will better achieve the goals of driving down costs, providing more options, and helping the most vulnerable obtain health insurance.

“There is a credibility gap,” Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, admitted to PJ Media in the briefing. “I think the reason conservatives are in that gap is because they spent so much time talking about these little levers that they would pull from a government perspective, and not enough time talking about goals.”

In order to bridge the “credibility gap,” Turner directly addressed the key goals of health care reform and explained how the Health Care Choices Proposal presented by the Health Policy Consensus Group would accomplish those goals.

Under a plan announced Monday, the newly eligible for Medicaid in Nebraska will have different benefits and requirements than others on Medicaid. To get full coverage, they would have to work, care for a family member, volunteer, look for work, or attend college or an apprenticeship. Matthew Van Patton, the state Medicaid director, said the newly eligible would be offered two levels of coverage, basic and prime. He said basic coverage would be modeled after a Blue Cross Blue Shield small group insurance plan, rather than traditional Medicaid coverage.

When the Idaho Senate came to order on Monday morning, it seemed that the work requirements many Idaho Republicans wanted to tack on to voter-approved Medicaid expansion might be dead in the water.

After all, a federal judge last week struck down such work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky.

But the Republicans pressed on, undeterred. Senators on Monday introduced a series of amendments to an existing bill. Unlike the work requirements that have been discussed in Idaho and other states, failure to comply wouldn’t mean losing Medicaid. People still would have coverage. They would just have a co-pay imposed on them — such as $5 to $30 for a doctor’s appointment — until they complied. Some people would be exempt, such as parents, caregivers and those filing for disability.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is asking the Trump administration to appeal a federal judge’s decision to strike down the state’s Medicaid work requirements. “I remain fully committed to the work requirement and we are in this for the long haul because we believe it is the right policy,” Hutchinson, a Republican, said in a press conference Thursday. Hutchinson said that he thought the judge’s ruling was wrong, and that he had just gotten off the phone with members of the Trump administration, who remained committed to the program.

A federal judge on Wednesday threw out Medicaid work requirements in two states. In twin rulings, Judge James E. Boasberg of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia rejected for a second time Kentucky’s attempt to require recipients to work or volunteer as a condition of coverage and blocked a similar rule in Arkansas. Seema Verma, who is in charge of the Medicaid program, said “We will continue to defend our efforts to give states greater flexibility to help low income Americans rise out of poverty.” The ruling will be appealed.

A federal judge on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s attempts to expand access to association health plan. U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington said the administration’s final rule allowing associations and employers to band together to create AHPs goes beyond its authority under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The Trump administration’s rule allows employers to join together to gain more efficiencies of scale in purchasing coverage and services, and the plans are more affordable because they don’t have to follow many ACA rules. 

Medicare, as President Lyndon B. Johnson put it, is a “light of hope” for elderly Americans. Medicare for All proposals threaten to extinguish it. Medicare for All would break a sacred promise and harm seniors’ access to care by forcing a system designed to support them to take on every other American. They deserve a system that helps them get well, not get in line. As for your taxes, the question isn’t whether Medicare for All would raise them, but by how many tens of trillions. And the monetary cost of Medicare for All is surpassed by its moral cost. The plan would strip coverage from more than 180 million Americans and force them into government insurance.

President Trump proclaimed this week that Republicans will become “the party of health care” and promised that a replacement that will be well-received by voters. “If the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is out, we’ll have a plan that is far better than Obamacare,” he told reporters Wednesday during an event in the Oval Office. White House aides said they are looking at expanding options, such as bridge plans, that are “free from Obamacare’s burdensome mandates.” Also in the mix is legislation from Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC) that would provide grants to states to provide coverage.

The 2020 presidential race will pit the Democrats’ “Medicare for All” proposal against the Trump administration’s “Medicare for Less.” At least that’s how the Washington Post and some Democratic political operatives suggest it will play out. According to Post, progressives are looking to make political hay out of the contrast between their dream of enlarging the Medicare program to cover all 327 million Americans and a Trump budget that proposes to reduce Medicare spending. “Free” medical care vs. pushing granny off the cliff. On closer examination, most of the Medicare savings contained in the president’s budget would likely save beneficiaries money. 

Senate Democrats, including several of the party’s presidential candidates, have savaged President Trump for proposing to reduceMedicare spending by several hundred billion dollars over the next decade.

Senator Kamala Harris of California said the proposed changes in Medicare “would hurt our seniors.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted, “The Trump administration wants to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the #Medicare budget, all while giving billionaires and giant corporations huge tax breaks.”