After the Senate’s latest health care plan failed, Trump and the GOP are now rooting for a full repeal of the ACA as soon as next week. Trump has said he wants to repeal the ACA as quickly as possible and the Senate shouldn’t go into their August recess without putting a repeal bill on his desk. What we don’t know is how Senator Tillis will vote on the full repeal of the ACA next Tuesday that has the potential to leave 32 million Americans without health coverage.
Still, it seems improbable that the White House lunch will change the calculus in the Senate, where McConnell has failed repeatedly to come up with a bill that can satisfy both conservatives and moderates in his party. Two different versions of repeal-and-replace legislation fell short of votes before coming to the floor, pushing McConnell to announce Monday night that he would retreat to a repeal-only bill that had passed Congress when Obama was in office.
Yet almost as soon as that plan was unveiled it too was killed off as three GOP senators, one more than McConnell can afford to lose in the narrowly divided Senate, announced opposition.
Complicating matters further, in his comments at the White House lunch Trump was back to supporting repeal and replace legislation, not just repeal.
“We have no choice, we have to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Trump said. “We can repeal it but the best is repeal and replace.”
Notwithstanding the mixed messages, what was clear Wednesday was that after promising for seven years to repeal and replace “Obamacare” — and using the issue to obtain majorities in Congress and the White House — many Republican senators are reluctant to abandon the effort, even as some acknowledge it would take a dramatic intervention to change the outcome.
“Know anybody who can work miracles?” said GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas ahead of the White House lunch.
As Chuck Grassley of Iowa got on board the bus that would ferry senators to the Trump lunch, he tweeted: “I’m eager to replace Obamacare and I’m the first one on the bus to the Whitehouse to find the magic to get to ‘yes.'”
The three senators who are publicly opposed to moving forward on the repeal-only bill are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.