WASHINGTON, July 14 — US President Donald Trump today urged divided Senate Republicans to “do what is right” and pass a revised health care reform bill, after the new measure encountered early pushback from sceptics in the party.
Repealing and replacing predecessor Barack Obama’s 2010 health care reforms was a central campaign pledge by Trump and many Republicans.
But with the latest effort already floundering, the president offered a fresh nudge to get the controversial measure across the finish line.
“After all of these years of suffering thru ObamaCare, Republican Senators must come through as they have promised!” Trump said on Twitter early today from Paris, where he was the guest of honour at the Bastille Day parade.
“So impt Rep Senators, under leadership of (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell get healthcare plan approved. After 7 yrs of O’Care disaster, must happen!” he added.
Trump also said Vice President Mike Pence, a former congressman with close ties to lawmakers, was “working hard on HealthCare and getting our wonderful Republican Senators to do what is right for the people.”
Achieving that goal has been elusive in the first six months of the new administration, and the bill unveiled yesterday is already under threat of collapse.
Several Republicans in the party’s conservative and moderate wings have expressed deep concerns with the draft.
Some fear that repealing the Affordable Care Act — the formal name of Obamacare — could adversely impact millions of Americans by effectively forcing them off of Medicaid, the health insurance programme for the poor and the disabled, or making health costs soar for people with pre-existing conditions.
With Democrats united in opposition, McConnell needs support from at least 50 out of 52 Republicans to pass the measure in the 100-member chamber. In the event of a 50-50 split, Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote.
Two Republicans have already declared their opposition. If a third comes out against the legislation, McConnell will not be able to bring it to a vote. — AFP