US President Donald Trump has been pressuring Republican senators not to give up their fight to overturn Obamacare despite their failure last week to pass a bill to partially replace it.
Over the weekend, Trump has bombarded Republican lawmakers with Twitter posts in which he has even threatened to cut federal subsidies to their states for lower income people to enable them to afford health insurance under Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, reports Efe news.
A Senate victory on health care in the coming days would help Trump leave the drama of last week behind, during which Cabinet chief Reince Priebus quit, press secretary Sean Spicer resigned and Anthony Scaramucci moved in as White House communications director.
“Don’t give up Republican Senators, the World is watching: Repeal and Replace…” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney told CNN on Sunday that Republican lawmakers cannot just promise for the past seven years to overturn Obamacare and then “turn the page” without doing so.
Republican congressional leaders have not made any comments after Trump’s messages on the weekend, but on Friday they expressed their intention to put the healthcare matter on the back burner and focus on other pending initiatives, including tax reform.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that it is time to “turn the page” and listen to the “suggestions” of Democrats to improve Obamacare, rather than simply attempt to repeal and replace it, as Republicans have been focused on doing to date.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan avoided commenting on the health care fiasco and said that lawmakers wanted to move on to tax reform this autumn.
Without referring to them directly, Trump made clear in his Twitter messages that he is going to exert as much pressure as possible to get the Senate to vote again on a health care bill in the first half of August before the summer recess.
“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” he tweeted on Saturday.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News on Sunday that the President will decide whether to end those subsidies “this week”, emphasizing that it is a decision that only he can make and that he will not accept the idea of the Senate simply moving on to other matters.
On Friday, three Republican senators joined the 48 Democrats there to vote against a bill to partially replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act implemented under former President Barack Obama.
Many observers considered that failed vote to be the last chance for Republicans to overturn Obamacare, albeit in diluted fashion, despite the fact that doing so has obsessed them and been an ongoing election promise pushed by Republican candidates for the past seven years.