- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2017

President Trump met with critics of Obamacare at the White House Monday and said the health care law “has put businesses in financial ruin.”

In a meeting with Americans from around the country to promote an administration-backed replacement health care bill, Mr. Trump heard stories from small business owners and others who have struggled to keep up with rising costs under Obamacare.

“We paid $8,000 for five months and were never able to use it,” Brittany Ivey of Toccoa, Georgia, told Mr. Trump. “It’s been hard. It’s almost put our family in financial ruin.”

“It’s put businesses in financial ruin,” the president replied. “Many, many plans were great before Obamacare. That doesn’t justify the system before Obamacare. But people are miserable now. It’s putting them in the poorhouse.”

Mr. Trump is facing strong opposition from Democrats and many conservative Republicans in Congress over the GOP legislation that was introduced last week to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a system of tax credits to purchase insurance.

“The press is making Obamacare look so good,” Mr. Trump told the group. “The fact is, Obamacare is a disaster. It’s going to go up this year.”

An Ohio business owner, Greg Knox, told the president he wants “not a government-operated market, but a free market.”

The president replied, “Every element of what we’re doing is competitive bidding, but we have to take care of people who need the help.”

The president said the safest political move for Republicans would to let the Democrat-passed law collapse on its own over the coming year — “because it’s going to blow itself off the map.”

“But that’s the wrong thing to do for the country. It’s the wrong thing to do for our citizens,” Mr. Trump said.

He said the House bill would provide “far” more choices at lower costs.

“Americans should pick the plan they want. Now they’ll be able to pick the plan. They’ll be able pick the doctor they want,” the president said. “They’ll be able to do a lot of things that the other plan was supposed to give and it never gave.”

Mr. Knox also gave the president a note from his young son, a piece of paper on which the boy had drawn a picture of Mr. Trump on one side and wrote a message on the other.

“I wish I looked that good,” the president joked.

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