WKYT's Bill Bryant among local reporters to meet with Trump at White House

Published: Feb. 27, 2017 at 9:51 PM EST
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In an effort to sell his national agenda ahead of his first budget address, President Donald Trump invited WKYT’s Bill Bryant and more than a dozen other local reporters to the White House for dinner Monday night.

“The White House says it’s the first time local political reporters and anchors from around the country were brought in for a dinner with the President,” said Bryant. “Vice President Pence dropped by as did First Lady Melania Trump.”

Bryant says the President talked with the small group for more than an hour and said the country has big problems but if “properly run and managed we have tremendous potential.”

The week is already off to a busy start ahead of President Trump's first address to a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday night.

The president met Monday morning with governors, including Kentucky's Matt Bevin, to discuss issues such as repealing Obamacare and beefing up the military.

While talking with Bevin and other governor, Mr. Trump vowed the country will do more with less while making government lean and accountable to the people.

Trump also reiterated his plans to repeal the Obamacare law.

“Well I think they want to see affordable healthcare,” Rep. Andy Barr said when asked what Kentuckians expect to hear from Trump. “I think they want to see their healthcare costs go down and that’s one of the greatest failures of Obamacare with costs continuing to sky rocket both in premiums and deductibles.”

Former Gov. Steve Beshear -- who championed Kentucky's healthcare exchange -- will make the Democrat's response to the President’s address.

Calling Kentucky’s healthcare exchange a disaster, Gov. Matt Bevin told reporters outside White House on Monday that the state’s program created under the former governor wasn’t the shining example Democrats made it out to be.

“In Kentucky, we have long been touted as an example of the opposite, I am telling you as a fact that it has been an unmitigated disaster,” Bevin said. “The whole point of healthcare coverage is of no value if you don't create better health care outcomes."

While the governors say they're grateful that the White House is listening to their concerns about a healthcare overhaul, but they still disagree on the best approaches for their states and the nation.

Trump and GOP leaders have pledged to repeal and replace the 2010 health-care law. Governors don't want to see costs passed on to states but differ on most other details.

Bevin and other governors received a sobering report over the weekend about the potential consequences of repealing the Obama-era health care law warns that federal spending cuts probably would create funding gaps for states and threaten many people with the loss of insurance coverage.

The Affordable Care Act has two main components for expanding coverage: subsidized private health insurance available in all 50 states, and an optional Medicaid expansion that has been accepted by 31 states and the District of Columbia. Those two components of the health law cover more than 20 million people.

A report by the consulting firms Avalere Health and McKinsey & Company concluded that the changes under consideration by the GOP-led House would reduce significantly federal dollars for Medicaid and subsidized private insurance.

The report was presented to the nation's governors over the weekend and obtained by The Associated Press.