Republicans in Congress are rejecting President Trump’s call to let Obamacare “implode” after the Senate failed to advance legislation to repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Senate Republicans said hours their failed vote that they should continue to work on health care reform, although they disagreed on a way forward and had no immediate plans to act.
House Republicans, having passed legislation to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act in the spring said flatly that Trump’s off-again, on-again recommendation that he might deliberately let the law crash to put pressure on Congress to respond is unacceptable and wouldn’t be tolerated by their voters.
“I don’t think that letting it fail is the best option, even though it certainly allows additional pressure to happen,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who is chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and close ties to the White House. “We can do better than that.”
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., rebuked Trump more directly. “No,” he said when asked if he agreed with the president. “Clear-cut question — no.”
Trump’s position on health care has been inconsistent since taking office.
He’s proposed repealing and replacing Obamacare simultaneously; repealing Obamacare and delaying passage of a replacement for two years while Republicans write a new law; and doing nothing until the system paralyzes, an approach says would force Democrats to negotiate with Republicans on a repeal package. Democrats have refused to sign onto anything that smacks of eliminating the Affordable Care Act.
On Friday, after Senate Republicans fell one vote short of advancing their health care reform bill, stalling the repeal effort indefinitely, Trump told a crowd of federal, state and local law enforcement officials at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island that Washington should let Obamacare fail.
“[Congress] should’ve approved healthcare last night, but you can’t have everything,” Trump said in a speech on Long Island. “Boy oh boy, they’ve been working on that one for seven years. Can you believe that? The swamp. But we’ll get it done. We’re going to get it done. I said from the beginning, ‘Let Obamacare implode, and then do it.’ I turned out to be right. Let Obamacare implode.”
With Republican controlling all levers of government, this strategy could prove politically disastrous for the president and his party, according to a new poll commissioned by the Democratic group Priorities USA.
Fifty-six percent of voters said “Trump’s plan to let Obamacare fail” makes them feel “less favorably toward Trump;” 32 percent viewed him more favorably, the polling memo from Priorities USA said. Seventy-five percent of voters, including 64 percent of voters who voted for Trump in 2016, “say that President Trump and Republicans in Congress have a responsibility to implement and improve the Affordable Care Act to help provide health care for the American People.”
The national survey of 1,013 “voters” was conducted by the Democratic firms Global Strategy Group and Garin Hart Yang Research Group via live telephone interviews conducted this week Monday through Thursday. Its margin of error was 3.1 percentage points. The poll was conducted prior to Friday morning’s failed Senate vote. Anticipating that possibility, the survey asked respondents what Trump and congressional Republicans should do if they can’t enact an Obamacare replacement.
Fifty-three percent said they should move on to something else, versus 39 percent who wanted them to keep at trying to replace the Affordable Care Act; 23 percent of Trump voters agreed that the president should move on.
“Health care has been toxic for Donald Trump and there’s nothing about this data that would belie that finding,” Jefrey Pollock, a pollster with Global Strategy Group, told reporters during a conference call to announce the survey’s findings.
Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.