US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he will negotiate with Democrats to move forward on a new healthcare law to replace ObamaCare.
He announced that he was preparing an executive order to give people more freedom when buying medical insurance.
Before flying to Indiana, where on Wednesday he will deliver a speech about his tax reform plan, Trump talked with reporters and insisted that the Republicans “have the votes” to approve a new healthcare law in Congress, Efe reported.
“With one Yes vote in hospital & very positive signs from Alaska and two others (McCain is out), we have the HCare Vote, but not for Friday!” Trump had tweeted.
The Republican leadership in the Senate has found itself forced to rule out a vote this week on the latest GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislation of former President Barack Obama, due to a lack of support on their side of the aisle.
Republican Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi is in his home state recovering from a “urological issue,” but a spokesman said that he is not hospitalised.
Despite Trump’s claim, even with Cochran’s “yes” vote there is apparently not enough support among Republicans to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill, given that three GOP senators — John McCain, Rand Paul and Susan Collins — have all said they would vote “no.”
The GOP Senate leadership had wanted to vote on the new bill — sponsored by Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy — this week to get it passed prior to September 30, which is the deadline for approving any legislation with only a simple majority.
Starting in October, the Republicans will need at least 60 votes to be able to overturn ObamaCare, and that threshold is far greater than their current majority of 52 seats in the upper house. The Democrats are united in their staunch opposition to Graham-Cassidy.
Trump commented on Wednesday that he is sure that a new healthcare bill can be voted on in January, adding that — until then — he intends to “negotiate” with Democratic lawmakers to try and agree on a bipartisan plan.
In addition, the President said he will issue an executive order, probably next week, so that people may buy medical insurance outside their states of residence, something that is not permitted under ObamaCare.
The Trump administration has been exerting constant pressure on Congress to reach agreement on overturning ObamaCare, but so far significant internal divisions within the GOP have stymied any such accord.
Repealing and replacing ObamaCare, which Trump and other Republicans have repeatedly called a “disaster,” was one of the president’s main campaign promises.