On Monday night President Donald Trump backtracked on his recent claims that the GOP is crafting a better health care plan that will soon replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), saying that he will wait until after the 2020 elections to call for a vote. According to a report in Politico, the president fired off a string of tweets addressing what had suddenly become a hot-button issue following the conclusion of the Mueller investigation. Following a surprise move by the Justice Department to back a district court ruling seeking to invalidate all of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, Trump made an appearance on Capitol Hill proclaiming that the Republicans would not only eliminate Obamacare, they would become known as "the party of healthcare."
But now Trump seems to be stepping back from the precipice of what would likely prove to be a bruising legislative fight, and instead is calling for the GOP to continue developing their as-yet unseen and unexplained proposal to craft what he called "truly great HealthCare that will work for America" – until right after the 2020 elections.
"The Republicans … are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare," Trump tweeted. "In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare. Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win … back the House."
"Republicans will always support Pre-Existing Conditions," he added.
Trump's apparent retreat from his renewed calls to repeal Obamacare likely comes as a relief for Republican lawmakers, who reportedly saw the effort as a self-inflicted "potential disaster-in-the-making," given how badly GOP efforts to repeal the program hurt their candidates and incumbents in the 2018 midterm election. Despite the program being a perpetual talking point and object of scorn for the hard right, GOP lawmakers up for re-election are hesitant to sign on to any presidential proposal to replace it, given the program's popularity and the fact that it reportedly covers up to 20 million Americans who might otherwise be without insurance.
Indeed, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who is facing his own re-election battle in 2020, signaled that he wants no part of any push to eliminate Obamacare without knowing the specifics of what will replace it.
"I look forward to seeing what the president is proposing and what he can work out with [Speaker Nancy Pelosi]," McConnell said on Thursday.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is another incumbent facing a difficult re-election campaign and has said that she doesn't support the Justice Department's siding against the Affordable Care Act.