Former House Speaker John Boehner said at a business event last week that Republicans were “not going to repeal and replace Obamacare” because “the American people have gotten accustomed to it,” according to video footage obtained by The Washington Post.
“Here we are, seven months into this year, and yet they’ve not passed this bill. Now, they’re never – they’re not going to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Boehner said at the event.
Boehner said the best option for Republicans was to repeal parts of Obamacare, the healthcare law officially known as the Affordable Care Act, like the employer and individual mandates and certain tax provisions. He added that popular parts of the law, like its Medicaid expansion, should remain.
It was not the first time Boehner had suggested a Republican push to repeal Obamacare would not be successful. In February, the former House speaker said at a healthcare conference in Florida that the Republican plan to do away with Obamacare was “not going to happen.”
He added that talk of repealing the law was “happy talk.”
Boehner’s comments last week came amid a struggle by the GOP to jump-start its stalled effort on repealing and replacing Obamacare, which Republicans attempted to do more than 60 times when President Barack Obama was in office.
The House of Representatives passed its own version of a repeal-and-replace bill, the American Health Care Act, in May, but the Senate has since been working on its own version.
The first two versions of the Senate’s bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, were opposed by some conservative and moderate members alike. The moderates thought the bill’s cuts to Medicaid and the potential for massive coverage losses went too far. Conservatives, on the other hand, felt the bill did not go far enough in its rollback of the Affordable Care Act’s regulatory structure.
As a result, four Republican senators said they would oppose a motion for a key procedural vote, seemingly killing it last Monday.
But it looked as if the GOP’s repeal push may be geared up for a comeback when Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, who recently learned he had an aggressive form of brain cancer, announced on Monday that he would be returning to Capitol Hill to continue working to overhaul the healthcare system.
Bob Bryan contributed reporting.