Trump sug­gests GOP re­peal now, re­place later

GOP dis­missed that ap­proach months ago as un­wise and im­prac­ti­cal

The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD - By Erica Werner and Alan Fram

WASH­ING­TON» Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump barged into Se­nate Repub­li­cans’ del­i­cate health care ne­go­ti­a­tions Fri­day, declar­ing that if law­mak­ers can’t reach a deal they should sim­ply re­peal “Oba­macare” right away and then re­place it later on.

Trump’s tweet re­vives an ap­proach that GOP lead­ers and the pres­i­dent him­self con­sid­ered but dis­missed months ago as im­prac­ti­cal and po­lit­i­cally un­wise. And it’s likely to fur­ther com­pli­cate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell’s task as he strug­gles to bridge the di­vide be­tween GOP mod­er­ates and con­ser­va­tives as sen­a­tors leave Wash­ing­ton for the Fourth of July break without hav­ing voted on a health care bill as planned.

The pres­i­dent sent his early-morn­ing tweet shortly after Ne­braska Repub­li­can Sen. Ben Sasse ap­peared on Fox News Chan­nel’s “Fox & Friends” to talk about a let­ter he had sent to Trump mak­ing that ex­act sug­ges­tion: a vote on re­peal­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health law fol­lowed by a new ef­fort at a work­ing out a re­place­ment.

Trump is a known “Fox & Friends” viewer, but Repub­li­can Sen. Rand Paul of Ken­tucky also claimed credit for rec­om­mend­ing the tac­tic to the pres­i­dent ear­lier in the week.

Trump’s sug­ges­tion has the po­ten­tial to har­den di­vi­sions within the GOP as con­ser­va­tives like Paul and Sasse com­plain that McCon­nell’s bill does not go far enough in re­peal­ing Obama’s health care law while mod­er­ates crit­i­cize it as overly harsh in kick­ing peo­ple off in­sur­ance roles, shrink­ing the Med­i­caid safety net and in­creas­ing pre­mi­ums for older Amer­i­cans.

A McCon­nell spokesman de­clined to com­ment on Trump’s tweet.

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