Trump loses battle to repeal Obamacare
One of the big promises of President Donald Trump’s campaign to repeal Barack Obama’s healthcare reform was buried Tuesday in Congress after several Republican majority senators announced their opposition. The failure is trumpeting for Trump six months after his arrival in power.
The billionaire entrepreneur seemed resigned to the parliamentary blockade of reforming the health care system, and declared that the 2010 Democratic law signed by his predecessor, known as ‘Obamacare’, would still fall by its own weight.
“Let Obamacare crumble, it will be simpler,” Trump said from the White House. “We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats will come to us.”
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The president did not imagine that fulfilling the republican pledge to repeal the 2010 law would remain unfulfilled this summer. In January it envisaged a speedy repeal. But the plan envisaged by the majority, halfway between a repeal and a reform, faced the joint opposition of conservatives and moderates.
The majority announced Monday a plan B: to vote for a smooth and flat derogation of the ‘Obamacare’ without presenting yet another proposal, challenging the senators of the party bench to oppose what they had promised to their voters.
The Congress would then have had two years to carefully prepare a hypothetical reform of the health system on new bases.
But that B plan was torpedoed Tuesday by at least three moderate Republicans, Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski, who represent so many states in which access to health care in rural areas could be terminated if the Obamacare.
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“I did not come to Washington to harm people,” said Sen. Capito.
Faced with these defections, the strongman of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, was expected to decide whether to bury the project or to organize a vote condemned to failure. With 52 senators out of a total of 100, the Republican party could not afford more than two defections.
Elections in 2018
The Republican reform bill was not intended to overturn the 2010 law, which in seven years became a relatively popular norm, as millions of people benefited from it.
Thus, the architecture of Obama’s reform was retained to a greater or lesser extent in the Republican plan to prevent millions of Americans from suddenly being without health coverage. However, important cuts were planned in the health budget, as well as the reduction of certain benefits to the insured.
The simultaneous repeal and substitution plan did not please the ultraconservatives, who considered it an “Obamacare light”, or the moderate Republicans, who were worried about a step too abrupt.
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No matter what happens here, the issue of repealing health care reform illustrates the problems of the White House-Congress relationship. Trump has often and publicly lobbied Republican Party lawmakers for a victory, whatever, but without going into detail.
His proposal to let Obamacare die is to allow the failures of the private health insurance market to be accentuated, which, he said, would steer pressure on Democrats to have to agree with Republicans to repair the system.
In several regions of the country, large insurers withdrew, in effect, from the so-called “individual” market, which increased insurance premiums there. That market encompasses tens of millions of Americans who are not insured by their companies or by the state.
Donald Trump’s logic is completely political: he is convinced that, in the face of Obamacare’s problems, voters will sanction Democrats and not his government in legislative elections next year.