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- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP would take another shot at repealing Obamacare if the party kept control of Congress this fall.
- McConnell called the failure to repeal Obamacare “the one disappointment of this Congress from a Republican point of view.”
- Democrats are hammering Republicans on healthcare in the lead up to the midterms, as the GOP’s repeal and replace plans proved unpopular.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants another shot at repealing the Affordable Care Act, the law better known as Obamacare.
“If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it,” McConnell told Reuters in an interview Wednesday. “But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks … we’re not satisfied with the way Obamacare is working.”
The GOP attempted to repeal and replace Obamacare in 2017 but were unable to do so despite holding majorities in each chamber of Congress. The party faced major roadblocks as Obamacare became more popular and each iteration of their replacement bill was greeted with distaste from the public. Their attempts eventually failed when the late Sen. John McCain signaled his vote against the repeal bill with his dramatic thumbs down.
In the interview, McConnell called the failed repeal bid “the one disappointment of this Congress from a Republican point of view.”
Despite the swing and miss, the GOP and the Trump administration have been able to leave their stamp on the ACA. The Department of Health and Human Services has allowed states to apply for waivers to make major changes to their Medicaid programs that could result in fewer people being covered and slashed the funding for Obamacare outreach.
For their part, congressional Republicans were able to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate – the requirement that all people must have health insurance or be faced with a penalty – as part of the GOP tax law.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer quickly jumped on the comment, pointing to it as proof that the GOP wanted to gut various ACA protections, like safeguards for people with preexisting conditions.
“Americans should make no mistake about it: if Republicans retain the Senate they will do everything they can to take away families’ health care and raise their costs,” Schumer said in a statement. “Whether it be eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions, repealing the health care law, or cutting Medicare and Medicaid. Americans should take Senator McConnell at his word.”
Democrats have hammered Republicans in the run up to the midterm elections, attacking their votes on Obamacare repeal and replace bills that would have weakened preexisting condition protections.