ObamaCare repeal bill hit by Medicaid official, exposing rift in Trump team

A top federal health official has come out against House Republicans’ ObamaCare repeal plan, exposing division inside the Trump administration even as the White House and Health Secretary Tom Price work to sell the legislation on Capitol Hill.

Andrey Ostrovsky, chief medical officer for The Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS), tweeted his concerns Wednesday night.

“Despite political messaging from others at HHS, I align with the experts from @aafp @AmerAcadPeds @AmerMedicalAssn in opposition to #AHCA,” he wrote.

He was citing criticism from groups like the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians.

Ostrovsky is a holdover from the Obama administration. But his agency is part of the broader Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which falls under the Department of Health and Human Services -- whose boss is pushing hard to promote the House Republican plan.

“What we’re trying to do is to fix the health care system and move it in a direction where patients and families and doctors are making decisions -- not the federal government,” Price said Thursday on “Fox & Friends,” reiterating that the plan is to replace ObamaCare in three phases, with the current legislation representing only the first.

GOP leaders are facing pushback on the plan from both the conservative and moderate wings of the party, for different reasons. Conservatives complain the original law’s subsidies would be replaced by a new system of tax credits, insurance companies would be able to impose a surcharge for lapsed coverage in place of the existing ‘mandate’ penalties, and the Medicaid expansion would be allowed to continue in the short-term.

However, moderate lawmakers and governors, as well as medical groups, have complained the proposal doesn’t go far enough to preserve Medicaid coverage.

Amid the debate, House Republicans cleared an initial hurdle early Thursday morning, pushing part of the legislation through the House Ways and Means Committee. The measure would strip the original law’s penalty for not buying insurance.

Another panel, the Energy and Commerce Committee, is still working on Medicaid and other issues.

Ostrovsky is hardly the first Trump administration official to speak out against the agenda at the top. Then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates famously refused to defend President Trump’s initial executive order halting refugee admissions and travel from seven mostly Muslim nations. Trump fired her, before ultimately rewriting the order amid court challenges.