President Donald Trump’s obsessive bid to overhaul or outrightly repeal former President Barack Obama’s legacy health law, known as Obamacare, has collapsed.
The efforts collapsed in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, dealing a sharp setback to Trump and the Republican Party’s seven-year quest to kill President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law. The disarray in the Republican-controlled Senate rattled financial markets as it cast doubt on the chances for getting Trump’s other domestic policy priorities, such as tax reform, through a divided Congress. Saying he was disappointed, Trump suggested at the White House that he might let the insurance markets created under Obamacare go under and then try to work with Democrats on a rescue.
“We’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail,” Trump told reporters. “We will let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”
U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell initially said he would set a vote on a straight repeal of Obamacare after it became clear on Monday night that he did not have enough support to pass an overhaul of the healthcare law, but the new approach unraveled within hours. Republican Senators Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska quickly announced they would not back repeal, appearing to doom the fledgling effort. With Democrats united in opposition, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes to pass the measure in the Senate, where they have a slim 52-48 majority.
“I do not think that it’s going to be constructive to repeal a law that at this point is so interwoven within our healthcare system and then hope that over the next two years we will come up with some kind of replacement,” Collins told reporters. Obamacare has boosted the number of Americans with health insurance through mandates on individuals and employers, and income-based subsidies. About 20 million Americans gained insurance coverage through the law.