Obamacare replacement bill sinks as senators withdraw support

Donald Trump is pushing for Obamacare to be repealed with no replacement as divisions in the Republican Party have quashed the latest effort at a replacement bill

Senator Mike Lee has refused to back the Republican replacement bill to the Affordable Care Act, arguing that it doesn't go far enough 

US President Donald Trump’s signature promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act has hit a major hurdle upon the announcement that two senators are pulling their support for the replacement bill, stripping it of a Republican majority in the senate. The Republican Party has campaigned on a platform of repealing Obama’s key healthcare reforms ever since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare – in 2010, but is deeply divided on what the alternative should look like. Under the Affordable Care Act, around 20 million Americans have gained healthcare coverage, but Republicans have long argued that it constitutes government overreach and restrains competition.

The party’s controversial replacement bill would have acted to substantially scale back the government’s role in the health sector, allowing insurers to offer less coverage and repealing the Obamacare rule that all Americans are required to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The Obamacare taxes on the wealthly, however, would have remained intact under the new plans.

Faced with a party that is unwilling to unite behind a replacement bill, Trump has called for the Affordable Care Act to be repealed without replacement

In a statement explaining why he was unwilling to support the bill, Senator Mike Lee : “In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families, nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.” Meanwhile, Senator Jerry Moran argued that the bill constituted “bad policy” and that it would leave the government in control of everyday healthcare decisions. By announcing their withdrawal, Lee and Moran have brought the total number of Republican senators objecting to the bill to four, which is enough to tip the balance of the slim Republican majority.

Faced with a party that is unwilling to unite behind a replacement bill, Trump has called for the Affordable Care Act to be repealed without replacement, a move that would throw the country’s health sector into limbo for years while the Republican Party struggles to agree on an alternative.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that the Senate would hold a vote in the coming days on this ‘clean slate’ plan, in which Obamacare would be repealed with a two-year delay. He that this would be able “to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centred healthcare system”.