Wanting to make good on a promise he made during his campaign, President Donald Trump is pushing fellow Republicans, who are in control of Congress, to pass a revamped healthcare legislation. Last month, the legislation was torpedoed by some interparty squabbling and there are chances it could happen again. Since he took office in January, the President is trying to secure his first major legislative victory. Compromises are being explored by House of Representatives Republicans that would satisfy the most conservative members of the party without antagonizing the moderates, but on Friday, it remained unclear if a viable bill would surface.
On Friday, Trump played down Congress’s need for acting on the legislation before next weekend, when he reaches his 100th day in office. Speaking to reporters, he said that there wasn’t any rush, even though he had said on Thursday that it would be finalized in the next week or soon thereafter. Congress will return next week from a recess and will also work against the clock for passing legislation to ensure the government has funding after April 28 and prevent a federal shutdown. The House Republican leaders released a schedule on Friday about the bills that will be considered next week and healthcare legislation is not on it.
Sean Spicer, the spokesman for the White House said that they would get it done when the terms are right for getting the total vote needed to pass the bill so it can go to the Senate. Defections are not good for the Republicans because Democrats are quite unified in their effort to stop the Republicans from replacing and repealing the Affordable Care Act. This was the signature domestic policy achievement made by Democratic President Barrack Obama and is known as Obamacare. During his campaign, Trump had promised to discard Obamacare.
Nonetheless, Trump had to suffer a stinging setback on March 24 when the legislation was pulled from the House Floor by Speaker Paul Ryan before it could come to vote. This is was mostly because conservatives in a faction termed as House Freedom Caucus had revolted and the concessions given to conservatives had displeased the moderates. Obamacare has been called an overreach by the government by the Republicans. According to this healthcare law, 20 million Americans can get insurance, most of them with the expansion of the Medicaid program aimed at the poor. A senior House Republican aide stated that it was unclear if a revamped plan could get the 216 votes needed.
It was also said that determining the chances of success were impossible unless there was some legislative text. Tom MacArthur, a moderate Republican Representative, is pushing a proposal that would enable states to opt out of some provisions outlined in Obamacare. His office said that he had discussed the proposals with the House leadership, other Republican lawmakers and the White House. While there is no text, the outline indicates that states would be able to relax some benefits that are required by Obamacare when providing insurance cover.