By Agence France-Presse
US President Donald Trump, after insisting a “fantastic” health care overhaul was imminent, injected more confusion Friday by suggesting if the current Senate bill fails they should immediately repeal Obamacare and pass a replacement later.
Republican leaders have struggled to win sufficient support from within the party for their plan, now under threat of collapse in the Senate where conservatives and moderates remained at odds.
The bill would jettison much of the Affordable Care Act — the current law known as Obamacare — and replace it with provisions intended to allow greater options for patients, reduce federal funding of Medicaid, end Obamacare taxes and change the way government helps pay for insurance.
“If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” Trump tweeted early Friday.
The president’s suggestion came as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was seeking to craft a compromise that satisfies party factions before Congress leaves town for a one-week recess.
The tweet was sure to jolt negotiations. A full Obamacare repeal with no replacement is unlikely to placate Republican moderates, many of whom remain concerned about how upending the present law, particularly its expansion of Medicaid, could leave millions of Americans uninsured.
A nonpartisan review by the Congressional Budget Office last week projected that the current Senate bill would swell the number of uninsured by 22 million by 2026.
In January, CBO said a bill that repeals much of Obamacare — including its subsidies and obligation to buy healthcare — would leave 32 million uninsured.
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