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Andy Slavitt, who served as the acting administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama, warned late Friday night that Republicans may try to repeal and replace Obamacare once again before the 2018 midterm elections.

“Republicans have been meeting in secret to bring back ACA repeal,” he writes.

 Citing a recent op-ed in the Washington Examiner, Slavitt said that former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum is leading a group of lawmakers and donors to push for repeal. This would mean lawmakers would have to use the reconciliation process again to pass the legislation so that they would only need 51 votes in the Senate for the bill to become law.

The Washington Examiner piece describes the bill as an “Obamacare replacement that could both pass Congress and work well in the real world.” But what exactly that looks like — and what it would mean for the American people — remains unclear, and the details would matter.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) were opposed to previous attempts to repeal Obamacare. Since their votes would be necessary for any bill to pass, assuming no Democrats support the effort, Santorum and his supporters will need to find a way to win them over

On that front, Slavit reports, “There are provisions to make a big payoff for Maine and Alaska.”

Nevertheless, Slavitt writes that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are not particularly interested in trying to do health care reform again: “Taking health care from people is not all that popular,” he notes.

But Santorum and others may think that there will be a “blue wave” in 2018 no matter what, so this may be the last time the GOP has the opportunity to get rid of Obamacare. And that might make Republicans desperate enough to try again.

IMAGE: Former Senator Rick Santorum speaks during the forum for lower polling candidates at the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.