Trump-led US government seeking to repeal healthcare law, figure out replacement later
With the latest Republican effort to replace Obamacare dead in the water, a repeal with a two-year delay is being mooted as the solution.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the delay would provide a stable transition period to a new healthcare programme in the USA.
No proper replacement exists yet. A vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act will be put to the senate in the coming days, McConnell said.
Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
Exact timing is not yet known.
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His comments come as US President Donald Trump called for an immediate repeal of former US President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.
On twitter, Trump said "Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!"
The moves come after the latest Republican healthcare proposal was dealt a fatal blow, with two more Republican senators coming out against it.
Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas both said they could not support the Trump-backed legislation in its current form. They joined GOP Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, both of whom announced their opposition right after McConnell released the bill last week.
McConnell is now at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate and may have to go back to the drawing board or even begin to negotiate with Democrats, a prospect he's threatened but resisted so far.
McConnell's bill "fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address healthcare's rising costs. For the same reasons I could not support the previous version of this bill, I cannot support this one,'' said Moran.
It was the second straight failure for McConnell, who had to cancel a vote on an earlier version of the bill last month when defeat became inevitable.
Trump had kept his distance from the Senate process, but the development was a major blow for him, too, as the US president failed to rally support for what has been the GOP's trademark issue for seven years - ever since Obama and the Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act in the first place.
The Senate bill eliminated mandates and taxes under Obamacare, and unravelled a Medicaid expansion. But for conservatives like Lee and Paul it didn't go far enough in delivering on Republican Party promises to undo Obama's law, while moderates like Collins viewed the bill as too extreme in yanking insurance coverage from millions.