As the fate of the Senate health bill’s collapse made headlines across Washington, President Trump was quick to acknowledge disappointment on his party’s inability to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. With a noticeable grimace, during a service members luncheon at the White House, Trump’s statement to reporters on Tuesday—“let Obamacare fail.”
“It will be a lot easier. And I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you, the Republicans are not going to own it,” Trump said while looking stone-faced at reporters.
He added, “We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us, and they’re going to say, ‘How do we fix it? How do we fix it?’ Or how do we come up with a new plan?”
Trump expressed “disappointment” in the three Republicans who were vocal on Tuesday about not supporting a motion to proceed on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s repeal strategy, which would ultimately kill the plan. Trump added that he was “surprised” by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mike Lee (R-UT) coming out against the bill. He was hopeful a new bill would eventually materialize.
“Obamacare is a big failure, and it has to be changed. We have to go to a plan that works. We have to go to a much less expensive plan, in terms of premiums. And something will happen and it will be very good. It may not be as quick as we had hoped, but it’s going to happen.”
Amid the fallout of the collapse of the GOP health care bill, the Senate is pressed to present an effective health care reform while facing the harsh reality of abandoning attempts to revive the bill altogether. Waiting in the shadows for answers to why Obamacare haunts his presidency—Mr. Trump says he’ll be waiting with “pen in hand” for “something good.”
Addressing President Trump’s comments on Tuesday at an off camera press briefing; Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders laid majority blame for the Senate’s bill failure on Democrats.
Sanders condemned the Democrats for the GOP health care bill failure—saying they “created the mess we’re in and have been unwilling to work with Republicans.” She described the Democrats actions as “simply unacceptable behavior.” Sanders added—“the responsibility lies on their shoulders and they need to own the failure of it.”
“Hopefully with the collapse of the program they put in place they’ll be more willing to come to the table and clean up the mess,” Sanders said.
Peppered with questions about a time-frame for any health care reform, Sanders said the White House would want a plan to happen as soon as possible but currently focused on “getting it right.”
Echoing Trump’s earlier remarks about the collapsed health care bill, Sanders was adamant about stating that the process of reforming health care is far from over, telling reporters that “the only thing that’s dead here is Obamacare.”
“It’s completely failed, and Congress needs to do their job as quickly as they can, inaction is not a workable solution, so they need to come to the table and figure it out.”
When asked if Mr. Trump would sign a bill put forth by Congress that offered repeal without replacement plan, a move McConnell tried and failed. Sanders said the president was “open to considering all options to reform health care.”
The GOP’s challenge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and produce an effective health care reform pointed to differences between moderates fearing the implications of a complete repeal, and staunch conservatives who are clear on wanting nothing less.
Speaker Paul Ryan managed to bridge the divides in the House in May, barely passing a bill that would have eliminated the coverage mandates and tax hikes in the Affordable Care Act, while unwinding the Medicaid expansion and removing insurance coverage for millions.
Meanwhile, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) growth was steadfast in the polls while constituents expressed anger and frustration in town halls across the nation. Republicans would learn anew that a benefit, once given, is hard to take away.