Washington, Mar 24: Donald Trump has given an ultimatum to Republicans to pass the American Health Care Act as he threatened to leave “Obamacare” in place and “move ahead with other priorities” after his administration failed to get enough votes for its passage. “Disastrous #Obamacare has led to higher costs & fewer options. It will only continue to get worse! We must #RepealANDReplace. #PassTheBill,” Trump said in a tweet.
In a closed-door meeting with Republican lawmakers, Trump warned his party colleagues to leave Obamacare in places unless they pass the legislation to repeal and replace it, according to news reports.
The message was communicated through the White House budget director Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney warned that if the legislation fails to pass through the Congress, Trump would move ahead with his other priorities. ”We have to have a vote tomorrow. He expects it to pass, but he’s moving on if for some reason, it didn’t,” Congressman Chris Collins from New York told reporters.
The White House said the people of the country are waiting for the political leadership to fulfill the promise they made in the election campaign.
“The American people will be counting on to fulfill their promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare by supporting this bill,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.
“This bill has truly been a collaborative effort from the beginning. Through an open and deliberative process, the President and his team have helped to negotiate a very, very strong bill,” he said.
“The amendments that have been incorporated add important aspects to the bill, like removing costly essential health benefit insurance regulations; repealing Obamacare taxes immediately, starting in 2017; reforming Medicaid by allowing states to accept funding as a block grant to implement able-bodied work requirements; and blocking states from receiving enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages if they expanded during the transition,” Spicer said.
The vote to repeal and replace Obamacare was initially scheduled for yesterday night. However, in the absence of a majority, House Speaker Paul Ryan has pushed it to Friday. It could even happen on Monday.
In a meeting with truckers at the White House, Trump said Obamacare has inflected great pain on American truckers.
“Many of you were forced to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. You experienced a crippling rise in premiums, and a dramatic loss in options. And you just take a look at what’s happened to the costs, and it’s incredible…,” he said.
Referring to the vote on the bill, he acknowledged that it was going to be very close,” he said.
“It’s going to be a very close vote. By the way, it’s close not because Obamacare’s good it’s close for politics. They know it’s no good. Everybody knows it’s no good. Only, politics. We have a great bill and I think we have a very good chance. But it’s only politics,” he added.
Senior Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera, who is from the opposition Democratic party, said he would vote against the bill which would kick 24 million hardworking Americans off their healthcare should not be rushed to a vote. The vote on the bill, he said, is now scheduled for Friday morning.
“The majority is having trouble getting the votes within their own caucus, and that tells you how bad this bill is. Health care affects all of us and should not be decided behind closed doors but that’s what’s happening,” Bera said.
“The public deserves to see this bill and evaluate it in the light of day because real lives are at stake,” he said.
“As one of only two Democratic doctors in Congress, I’m still waiting for my phone to ring so Democrats and Republicans can work together to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare for all Americans,” he added.
Till late in the night the Republicans were having “great, great difficulty” reaching consensus on important pieces of legislation.
“I think what you’re seeing reflected is every day this bill goes forward, and, frankly, it gets worse by the day, the American public are overwhelmingly are rejecting this bill,” Democratic Whip, Steny H Hoyer told Fox News in an interview.
“In the most recent poll, 3 to 1 people are saying this is not good for them, not good for their country. They’re saying they’re going to pay more and get less. They believe the CBO, unlike the Republicans. 24 million people will lose insurance and that there’s an age tax on there where seniors will pay more,” Hoyer said. PTI