WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Sunday urged Republican senators not to give up trying to pass a healthcare bill, after they failed last week to muster enough votes to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare.
For the second day running Trump tweeted his impatience with Congress’ inability to accomplish its seven-year goal of replacing the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare bill commonly known as Obamacare.
“Don’t give up Republican Senators, the World is watching: Repeal & Replace …” the president said in a tweet.
On Friday, Senate Republicans failed to muster 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 law.
Congressional leaders have suggested they are ready to move on to other issues, but Trump over the weekend seemed unwilling to let the matter go.
On Saturday the president said in a tweet that “if a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”
That appeared to be referring to the approximately $8 billion in cost-sharing reduction subsidies the federal government pays to insurers to lower the price of health coverage for low-income Americans.
The second part appeared to be a threat to end the employer contribution for members of Congress and their staffs, who were moved from the normal federal employee healthcare benefits program onto the Obamacare insurance exchanges as part of the 2010 healthcare law.
Responding to Saturday’s tweet, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said that if the president carried out that threat, “every expert agrees that (insurance) premiums will go up and health care will be more expensive for millions of Americans.”
Some congressional Republicans have said they are trying to find a way forward on healthcare.
However, 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.
Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Phil Berlowitz