Trump pres­sures Repub­li­cans to re­peal, warns Oba­macare is death

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump strongly warned Repub­li­cans on Mon­day that they must pass health care re­form, tak­ing his party to task and bluntly declar­ing that “Oba­macare is death.” With the ef­fort to re­peal and re­place the health care law of Trump’s pre­de­ces­sor floun­der­ing in Congress, the Se­nate pre­pared to vote Tues­day on whether to be­gin de­bate on the lat­est Repub­li­can plan. Sev­eral mea­sures have been con­sid­ered but then col­lapsed in re­cent weeks. The lat­est is a bid to dis­man­tle the 2010 Af­ford­able Care Act, but de­lay the ac­tual im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­peal to al­low time for a vi­able re­place­ment to be crafted.

Se­nate Repub­li­can lead­ers ac­knowl­edge they do not know whether there is suf­fi­cient sup­port to open de­bate on the new plan, a sign of Repub­li­can di­vi­sion about the im­pact such re­forms might have on mil­lions of Amer­i­can fam­i­lies. With less than three weeks be­fore the Se­nate is to leave Wash­ing­ton for its al­ready-de­layed sum­mer re­cess, Trump took to his bully pul­pit and de­manded his party get in line. “Any se­na­tor that votes against start­ing de­bate is telling Amer­ica that you are fine with the Oba­macare night­mare,” Trump said at the White House, where sev­eral “vic­tims” of Oba­macare stood as a back­drop to his re­marks.

“Oba­macare is death,” Trump added. “It’s gone. And now it’s up to us to get great health care for the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”Trump has re­peat­edly grilled fel­low Repub­li­cans for not fol­low­ing through on their-and his-cam­paign pledge to re­peal and re­place Oba­macare, some­thing he said he aimed to do im­me­di­ately once in of­fice in Jan­uary. “Over and over again they said re­peal and re­place. And for Se­nate Repub­li­cans, this is their chance to keep their prom­ise.”

Repub­li­cans hold 52 of the Se­nate’s 100 seats. With all Democrats op­posed, Trump can af­ford just two de­fec­tors. But with Se­na­tor John McCain con­va­lesc­ing in Ari­zona fol­low­ing a brain cancer di­ag­no­sis, that magic num­ber is down to one. As of last week, three Repub­li­can hold­outs said they will vote no on Tues­day’s so­called mo­tion to pro­ceed, which opens de­bate on the leg­is­la­tion. Trump went to one of their home states Mon­day, where he was to per­son­ally lobby Se­na­tor Shel­ley Moore Capito as the two at­tended a Boy Scouts con­ven­tion in Beaver, West Vir­ginia.


Sev­eral other Repub­li­cans have also ex­pressed con­cerns, but have not an­nounced how they will vote. “I think un­til the vote is ac­tu­ally on the floor of the Se­nate, some peo­ple may not tell you what they’re ac­tu­ally go­ing to do,” Se­nate Repub­li­can John Bar­rasso told CBS talk show “Face the Na­tion” on Sun­day. Once the re­peal-only bill is on the floor, it could be amended “in var­i­ous ways,” Bar­rasso said, in­clud­ing chang­ing it to a re­peal-and-re­place bill. Fore­casts by the non-par­ti­san Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice on var­i­ous health re­form bills have pre­dicted that mil­lions of Amer­i­cans would lose health care if the mea­sures be­come law.

In the case of a bill that re­peals Oba­macare and pro­vides no re­place­ment, 32 mil­lion more peo­ple would be unin­sured by 2026 as com­pared to cur­rent law, CBO fore­cast. Some Repub­li­cans have ex­pressed con­cern with how leg­is­la­tion would im­pact Med­i­caid, the health in­sur­ance pro­gram for the poor and the dis­abled. The lat­est re­peal-and-re­place bill would roll back an ex­pan­sion of Med­i­caid and slash its fed­eral fund­ing. It would also end the man­date that most in­di­vid­u­als have health in­sur­ance, and al­low states to let in­sur­ance com­pa­nies of­fer bare-bones plans not al­lowed un­der cur­rent law. De­spite the con­cerns voiced by some Repub­li­cans-and sev­eral out­side groups-Trump is­sued an omi­nous threat. “If Repub­li­cans don’t Re­peal and Re­place the dis­as­trous Oba­maCare, the reper­cus­sions will be far greater than any of them un­der­stand!” he tweeted. —AFP

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