The Note: Health care disconnect

We're at the halfway point of President Trump’s first 100 days.


Day No. 50

Photo of the day: With rolled-up sleeves and a PowerPoint slideshow, Paul Ryan took on the role of professor instead of House Speaker to explain the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare step-by-step. But what Ryan probably didn’t plan for was to fall victim to Photoshop and become a viral meme. (Credit: Dan Amira)


--Inside the Senate GOP resistance to Trumpcare: Just as House Speaker Paul Ryan was rolling up his sleeves to give a presentation on the House Republican Obamacare replacement plan, on the other side of the Capitol, senators offering a full-throated defense of the bill were scarce. The House blueprint, which Ryan referred to as a "three-pronged approach" Thursday, includes some provisions that various Republican factions oppose; most notably, a plan to provide tax credits to individuals, which some critics have said amounts to a new entitlement, and an eventual cap on the amount of Medicaid funding states can receive, which worries some Republicans whose states accepted an Obama-era Medicaid expansion. ABC’s ALI ROGIN has more:

--The road to repealing and replacing Obamacare: After the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee approved the GOP’s health care plan yesterday, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON explains what happens next in the House. While Democrats have worked overtime to frustrate the legislation’s progress, they appear powerless so far to block its advancement. That privilege will fall to conservatives.

This Week on ‘This Week’: George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with White House Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, Sunday on “This Week.” Plus, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., come to “This Week.” And the Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, with National Review editor Rich Lowry, Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons, Republican pollster and ABC News contributor Kristen Soltis Anderson, and editor and publisher of The Nation Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Speed read with ABC's ABC’s ADAM KELSEY

The 3 key provisions in the GOP health care bill that cause experts concern. Several health care industry experts have expressed serious concerns about three key areas of the Republican health care bill unveiled this week, proposed as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as "Obamacare." Some doctors and hospital groups worry that people with lower incomes or who are closer to retirement age would be likely to receive fewer tax credits from the government to help them buy their own insurance than they do through current ACA subsidies, writes ABC's MARYALICE PARKS.

Spicer's rebuke puts spotlight on Congressional budget office amid GOP health care battle. White House press secretary Sean Spicer leveled stinging criticism against the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office Wednesday, assailing its accuracy amid Democratic complaints that the agency would not have an opportunity to review the new health care legislation before a vote. "If you're looking to the CBO for accuracy, you're looking in the wrong place," said Spicer. "They were way, way off last time in every aspect of how they scored and projected Obamacare." ABC's ADAM KELSEY has more:

What the 400 additional US troops in Syria are up to. The addition of 400 Marines and Army Rangers to Syria will increase the number of American troops inside the country to 900, according to U.S. officials. Several hundred Marines have arrived in Syria to provide artillery support to U.S.-backed Syrian rebels preparing to retake Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria, a U.S. official said Wednesday. Last weekend, a contingent of Army Rangers arrived in Manbij to essentially act as a visible presence to prevent the Turkish military and Kurdish forces from fighting each other in the city retaken from ISIS months ago, explain ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ and ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN.

Government ethics office 'concerned' over White House decision not to discipline Kellyanne Conway. The director of the Office of Government Ethics said he is "concerned" over the White House's decision not to discipline Kellyanne Conway for promoting Ivanka Trump's brand in a television appearance. In a letter to White House deputy counsel Stefan Passantino, OGE director Walter Shaub said the White House failed to discipline Conway despite conduct that may have violated a federal ethics rule prohibiting "using one's official position to endorse any product or service," ABC's ALEXANDER MALLIN notes.

ACLU files complaint against Jeff Sessions. The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday filed an ethics complaint with the Alabama State Bar against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for testimony he made about Russian officials during his confirmation hearing, ABC’s TOM KUTSCH reports. “Mr. Sessions made false statements during sworn testimony on January 10, 2017, and in a subsequent written response to questions on January 17, 2017,” the complaint reads.

Sessions: Guantanamo Bay 'a very fine place' for terror suspects. During an interview Thursday with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked if either he or President Trump intend to shut down the facility. "Well, I have not favored that," Sessions said. "I've been there a number of times as a Senator, and it's just a very fine place for holding these kind of dangerous criminals. We've spent a lot of money fixing it up. And I'm inclined to the view that it remains a perfectly acceptable place. And I think the fact that a lot of the criticisms have just been totally exaggerated." ABC’s DAVID CAPLAN has more:

Tillerson steps away from possible pipeline decisions. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who previously served as the CEO of oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, has recused himself from any decisions regarding the Keystone XL oil pipeline, according to ABC’s CONOR FINNEGAN. In a letter sent to the environmental group Greenpeace Thursday, a State Department deputy legal adviser writes that Tillerson decided to recuse himself in “early February...from working on issues related to TransCanada's application for a presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline."

Pence: Turkey lobbying 'an affirmation' of decision to fire flynn. Vice President Mike Pence called revelations that former national security adviser Michael Flynn's lobbying efforts may have benefited Turkey an "affirmation" that President Trump was right in firing him. Flynn's lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, did lobbying work in the months leading up to his White House appointment that may have benefited the Turkish government, according to a filing made on Tuesday, ABC’s KATHERINE FAULDERS and JORDYN PHELPS report.


@markknoller: It's Day 50 of his presidency. He last responded to a few questions from reporters 8 days ago; last interview 11 days ago.

@oliverdarcy: The Marine Corps' nude photo-sharing scandal is even worse than first realized, @PaulSzoldra reports

@mj_lee: Nobody wants this GOP Obamacare bill named after them. Just asked Kevin Brady what he thinks of the names "Trumpcare" and "Ryancare."

@GlennKesslerWP: @realDonaldTrump has been president for 50 days. In that time, he has made 219 false or misleading statements.

@bgittleson: Trump is holding a CAMPAIGN rally in Nashville next Wednesday: