President Trump appears to already be throwing in the towel on his effort to scrap and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
While in a conference with House Republican leaders, the Trump administration reportedly told lawmakers that should they fail to pass the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare), he would leave Obamacare in place and cease efforts to undo his predecessor’s signature healthcare reform legislation.
“We have to have a vote tomorrow,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-New York) told The Hill after a meeting with White House Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney. “[Trump] expects it to pass, but he’s moving on if for some reason it didn’t.”
Republicans need 215 votes in the House of Representatives — where they have a solid majority — in order to send the bill to the U.S. Senate. The White House has been in negotiations with members of the far-right-leaning House Freedom Caucus and moderate conservatives in order to sway enough hardcore partisans and centrists to get on board with the controversial healthcare overhaul.
On Wednesday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and other top Republican leaders made several amendments to the American Health Care Act in order to get more arch-conservatives on board with the proposal. As New York Magazine reported, those changes allowed insurers to get away with covering even less than before, including the removal of Obamacare regulations that currently require insurance companies to cover basic treatment for hospital visits, pediatric care, maternity care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and prescription drugs.
However, the amended bill suffered a setback on Thursday when an official analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the new Trumpcare package would save even less money than the original bill, and would still result in the same number of new uninsured Americans. The CBO’s analysis found that in the first two years of Trumpcare hypothetically becoming law, Americans could expect double-digit hikes in their health insurance premiums, with 24 million people losing their coverage by 2026.
Trump’s promise to leave Obamacare in place falls in line with a statement the president made at a White House press conference earlier this month. When discussing the repeal of Obamacare, President Trump glibly stated that the politically expedient thing to do would be to leave the law in place and do nothing, and deflect all complaints about the healthcare system to former President Barack Obama and Democratic members of Congress.
Tom Cahill is a writer for the Resistance Report based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook.