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U.S. President Donald Trump Tuesday blamed Democrats and a ‘few Republicans’ after the latest Republican effort to overhaul the U.S. health care system fell apart Monday.
In Twitter posts Tuesday, Trump praised the effort of most Republicans and wished for the failure of the current health care law, commonly known as Obamacare.
Late Monday, two more Republican senators refused to support a heath care bill unveiled last week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Republican Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah issued separate statements describing the legislation as failing to go far enough in repealing the existing law championed by former president Barack Obama and also not doing enough to control rising costs.
Other Republicans have opposed the overhaul effort because of worries it could cut health care insurance for millions of people, especially narrowing coverage under the government’s health care program for poorer Americans known as Medicaid.
The failure was the second in as many months for McConnell, who had to cancel a vote on an earlier version in June when its defeat became inevitable. Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, and with all of the chamber’s Democrats opposed to their bills, the Republicans have little room for defections.
President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also commonly called Obamacare, used Twitter Monday night to call for repealing the ACA now and leave replacing it for the future.
Around the same time, McConnell released a statement saying he would pursue that path in the Senate by taking up a repeal bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year, but with an amendment delaying the implementation for two years.
McConnell said the approach would allow for a “stable transition” to a system that gives Americans access to “quality, affordable care.”
Congress passed a similar bill in 2015, but with Obama still in office there was certainty he would veto it instead of repealing his own program.
Some lawmakers reacted to Monday’s news by urging a bipartisan approach to addressing the health care system.
Among them was Republican Senator John McCain who said Congress should not repeat what he called the mistake of the Obama-era law that was passed under Democratic control of both chambers without Republican support.
“The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care,” McCain said.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the failure of the latest Republican bill is proof that its core is “unworkable.”
“Rather than repeating the same failed, partisan process yet again, Republicans should start from scratch and work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long term stability to the markets and improves our health care system,” Schumer said.