WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his administration on Sunday goaded Republican senators to stick with trying to pass a healthcare bill, after the lawmakers failed spectacularly last week to muster the votes to end Obamacare.
For the second day running, the Republican president tweeted his impatience with Congress’ inability to deliver on his party’s seven-year promise to replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare bill commonly known as Obamacare. Members of his administration took to the airwaves to try to compel lawmakers to take action.
But it was unclear whether the White House admonishments would have any impact on Capitol Hill, where Republicans who control both houses signaled last week that it was time to move on to other issues.
Republicans’ zeal to repeal and replace Obamacare was met with both intra-party divisions between moderates and conservatives and also the increasing approval of a law that raised the number of insured Americans by 20 million.
Polling indicates a majority of Americans are ready to move on from healthcare at this point. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Saturday, 64 percent of 1,136 people surveyed on Friday and Saturday said they wanted to keep Obamacare, either “entirely as is” or after fixing “problem areas.” That is up from 54 percent in January.
With the U.S. legislative branch spinning its wheels, the executive branch pledged to look at rewriting Obamacare regulations. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told ABC’s “This Week” that he would change those regulations that drive up costs or “hurt” patients.
Price sidestepped questions about whether there were administration plans to waive Obamacare’s mandate that individuals have health insurance, saying “all things are on the table to try to help patients.”
But Price also told NBC he would implement Obamacare because it is the “law of the land.”
That Obamacare was still law clearly angered Trump, who has no major legislative accomplishments to show for his first half-year in office. “Don’t give up Republican Senators, the World is watching: Repeal & Replace …” the president said in a tweet on Sunday morning.
Not ‘Time to Move on’
On Friday, Senate Republicans failed to collect enough votes to repeal even a few parts of Obamacare. That capped a week of failed Senate votes on whether to simply repeal, or repeal and replace, the 2010 law, while Trump repeatedly berated…