Much like the process in the House of Representatives in March, the path to an Obamacare replacement has been a roller coaster in the Senate. After drafting a bill in secret , Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to delay a vote, fearing it wouldn’t pass.
Throughout the process, President Donald Trump has vacillated in his support. This morning, Trump proposed an entirely new tack: Instead of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with an alternative, let the Senate just repeal it.
If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
The idea comes after a Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) floated the proposal on Fox & Friends.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) June 30, 2017
Then, in some sort of human Twitter centipede of congressional legislative proposals, Sasse retweeted the president, endorsing his own idea.
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) June 30, 2017
This is, however, only one of many proposals Trump has decreed as the path forward for his signature effort to repeal and replace Obamacare (officially known as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), which has consumed the first six months of his presidency.
Just four days ago, Trump said, in lieu of repealing and replacing Obama’s healthcare legislation, the Senate should let it “crash and burn.”
Republican Senators are working very hard to get there, with no help from the Democrats. Not easy! Perhaps just let OCare crash & burn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2017
He also came out in favor of the Senate bill.
I am very supportive of the Senate #HealthcareBill. Look forward to making it really special! Remember, ObamaCare is dead.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
Trump ostensibly furthered the stance that he supports the bill on Thursday when he tweeted a chart that showed the Senate plan would increase funding for Medicaid, which he claimed the media was misrepresenting.
Democrats purposely misstated Medicaid under new Senate bill – actually goes up. pic.twitter.com/necCt4K6UH
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2017
Medicaid spending will go up under this bill, but at a lower rate than if the Republican bill didn’t pass with new restrictions. And the cuts will intensify starting in 2025, ultimately removing hundreds of billions of dollars from a healthcare program used by tens of millions of Americans.
Trump and Republican lawmakers’ suggestion to repeal Obamacare without a replacement in place could have significant consequences. Not only would the millions who rely on the Affordable Care Act for coverage be at risk, insurance companies would no longer be restricted by many of the consumer-focused regulations in place because of the law—such as covering essential health benefits and not putting lifetime limits on coverage—which Republicans would then need to try and reign in again whenever they proposed a new healthcare bill.
As for Sasse’s proposal that the Senate spend all of August working on a replacement, Congress is in recess at that time.