Last week, President Donald Trump surprised adversaries and allies alike by suddenly renewing his call to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, The Los Angeles Times reports. In doing so he indicated that Republicans would develop a superior plan.
Trump has reportedly ordered the Justice Department to instruct a federal court that he wants the law to be struck down as unconstitutional. The president’s request included all elements of the 2010 legislation, including the individual mandate to purchase insurance, protections for individuals with preexisting conditions, and the ability for children to remain on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.
“We are going to be, the Republicans, the party of great healthcare,” Trump said in revealing the reemerging priority.
Republicans have been largely reluctant to re-attempt the daunting task of health care reform in the United States, particularly in the wake of their failure to repeal the law in 2017, which was largely viewed as a defeat for the newly-elected Congressional majorities. Creating even longer odds than before, Republicans have since lost their majority in the House of Representatives and maintain control of the Senate by the slimmest of margins.
“We couldn’t repeal and replace it with a Republican House,” said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
Trump was cavalier following the 2017 defeat, taking to Twitter to tell his supporters that the law would crash and burn on its own, regardless of the outcome of the repeal.
“Let ObamaCare implode, then deal,” he said. “Watch!”
Now that it appears the Affordable Care Act will, despite substantive flaws, not simply fall apart under its own weight, Congressional Republicans will have a steep road ahead, even beyond the challenges of operating without the House majority.
Health care is a wildly complex issue, even within the ranks of the Republican Party. There are a variety of approaches, each with congressional champions who may or may not cooperate with alternatives to their own proposals for reform.
Democrats have been quick to embrace the reemergence of the health care issue, as Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act has been widely recognized as one of the driving factors in the Democrats’ ability to succeed in the 2018 midterm elections.
“Make our day,” quipped Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer after Trump’s announcement.
Mark your calendars: the House will vote next week on @RepColinAllred’s resolution condemning the Trump Admin’s vicious campaign to take health care away from millions. Americans deserve to know where their representatives stand. https://t.co/6iHN9Rcq6w
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) March 29, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi likewise chimed in on Twitter.
“Mark your calendars: the House will vote next week on @RepColinAllred’s resolution condemning the Trump Admin’s vicious campaign to take health care away from millions. Americans deserve to know where their representatives stand,” Speaker Pelosi tweeted.