There is to be no going for an August holiday for Republican lawmakers unless they keep their promise to repeal Obamacare and come up with a replacement.
That was the stern message from US President Donald Trump to 49 senators after the latest version of legislation to replace President Obama’s healthcare law collapsed due to Republican disunity.
“People are hurting. Inaction is not an option. And, frankly, I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great healthcare. Because we’re close. We’re very close,” warned the president.
Repealing and replacing Obamacare was a top campaign promise for Trump and Republicans in Congress, who say it is a costly intrusion into the healthcare system.
But the reality has been difficult for a party divided between moderates concerned the Senate bill would eliminate insurance for millions of low-income Americans and conservatives who want to see even deeper cuts to Obamacare, which boosted the number of Americans with health insurance through mandates on individuals and employers, and income-based subsidies.
Democrats, clearly delighted with the turn of events, have welcomed the Republicans’ failure to replace Obamacare as an opportunity to work together. Republicans conceded their other options may be exhausted.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to go ahead with a vote early next week to ditch Obamacare . He can only afford to lose two votes from his 52-48 majority to pass the bill.
Meanwhile around 150 activists were arrested when raiding Senate offices in protest at Americans being left without any replacement healthcare bill.
So far Republicans have not agreed over an acceptable alternative.