U.S. President Donald Trump is voicing confidence the Senate will join the House of Representatives in repealing health care reforms championed by former President Barack Obama.
“Republican Senators will not let the American people down!” Trump said Sunday on his Twitter account, just days after the House narrowly voted to repeal the seven-year-old health law popularly known as Obamacare.
The long-running U.S. health care debate now moves to the Senate, where the fate of the repeal effort is uncertain. Some Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns the House-approved proposal would leave millions without insurance, while Democrats are uniformly opposed to overturning the statute and hope to stymie efforts to change the law, which national polls show has grown in popularity.
In his Twitter comment, Trump contended, “ObamaCare premiums and deductibles are way up — it was a lie and it is dead!”
Trump’s Health and Human Services chief, Tom Price, appeared on several news talk shows to defend the repeal effort.
“The goal is to have the kind of insurance [Americans] want, not that government forces them to buy,” Price told NBC’s Meet the Press.
The health secretary said Republicans believe insurance under their plan “is going to be more affordable. This is different [than Obamacare]. We believe it’s a better way to cover those with pre-existing [medical] conditions” that are often costly to treat.
The Republican plan would allow insurers to charge sicker people much higher rates than they do for healthy people under Obamacare, which Price defended as “pricing for what peoples’ health status is.”
The House voted 217 to 213 for the repeal legislation, Trump’s first major legislative victory of his presidency. Only Republicans voted for the repeal and 20 Republicans joined all House Democrats in opposing the effort.
In the coming days, the independent Congressional Budget Office is set to release its assessment of how much the Republican plan would cost in the next decade and how many millions of people would lose their insurance under it. The agency said an earlier version of the Republican proposal would leave 24 million people without insurance in 10 years.