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The Obamacare repeal goes public, the new travel ban draws criticism, and local Republicans avoid town halls

March 7, 2017 GMT

Aubrey Whelan, Staff writer

A daily roundup of news about President Trump and his policies, from Philadelphia and around the country.

- President Trump released a revised travel ban that allows Iraqis to enter the country and loosens the suspension of Syrian refugee arrivals from indefinitely to four months — but critics say it’s just a “Muslim Ban 2.0” and that its tweaks don’t make American Muslims feel any less targeted, the Inquirer’s Michael Matza reports.

- The GOP’s Affordable Care Act replacement came out on the same day Philadelphia’s City Council heard testimony on what could happen here under a repeal. Some of the ACA’s most popular provisions will remain in place, namely that no one can be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition and that children can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. The individual mandate, long-decried by Republicans, is gone. The president tweeted this morning that people will be able to buy insurance across state lines in “phase two and three” of a healthcare plan:

Don’t worry, getting rid of state lines, which will promote competition, will be in phase 2 & 3 of healthcare rollout. @foxandfriends— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2017

But the current plan reduces the amount of funding states get for people enrolled in Medicaid under the ACA expansion, the New York Times reports, and low-income people above the poverty line would get “substantially less help” when shopping for insurance. Though the Congressional Budget Office is still crunching the numbers, the New York Times reports, “it is reasonable to predict that the plan will cover fewer people than the current law does, and that the people who will lose coverage will be those who are poorer.”

The bill’s Republican authors are pitching the plan as a victory for choice and individual responsibility, but a handful of Congressional Republicans have expressed reservations about a previous draft of the bill, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), he of last week’s photocopier quest, called an earlier version “Obamcare lite,” NPR reports.

- The president’s claims that he was wiretapped during the campaign season has put White House aides trying to defend their boss’ tweets in a dicey position, the Washington Post reports. The president has offered no evidence he was wiretapped, and press secretary Sean Spicer has called for a congressional investigation, but at a news conference yesterday “refused to add clarity or context to Trump’s Twitter missives.”

- Admist Trump’s hard-line immigration stance, a doctor at a South Philly hospital is seeing more and more patients who are nervous about disclosing their identities for fear they’ll be deported, the Daily News’ Helen Ubiñas reports.

- Politico analyzes the president’s office for victims of crime committed by immigrants — and the list of such crimes the White House plans to publish weekly. A former ICE director says to expect a list of low-level crimes like driving offenses, the “vast majority” of them non-violent.

- The left’s town-hall blitz continues, with U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur, a Republican, telling a large crowd in his New Jersey district that he’s “not Donald Trump,” the Inquirer’s Maddie Hanna reports. He was the first local legislator to hold a town hall since Trump’s election — other Republican legislators, including Pennsylvania’s Sen. Pat Toomey, are finding less-visible ways to meet with voters to avoid angry town-hall crowds, the Inquirer’s Jonathan Tamari reports.

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