U.S. President Barack Obama has urged fellow Democrats to fight for his health care bill amid fears that the incoming Trump team would repeal the law. The Trump team has already vowed to make the annulment a priority.
During a two-hour private meeting, Obama sought to rally his party members, as Republicans took the first step to dismantling the bill.
The announcement to replace Obamacare came from President-elect Mike Pence as well, who was present at Congress where he told his party members about the replacement.
Health coverage has extended to an estimated 20 million Americans under Obamacare, but the Act of 2010 has come under attack due to soaring premium costs and many insurers withdrawing from the scheme, which has left people with lesser choices for the coverage.
Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings told reporters that the Outgoing President has “encouraged us to fight” and protect domestic policy accomplishments. He spoke after Obama made a rare visit to Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Other members present at the meeting also told the media that they were urged to “stay strong” as Republicans are set to take control of both chambers of the Congress and White House for the first time in a decade.
These developments come at a time when Republicans have made their first move to dismantle the signature bill. A budget debate to starve the funding of the program was approved by 51 to 48 votes.
There’s a tug of war going on between the Democrats and the Republicans about the Obamacare. Chuck Schumer, a Senate Democratic leader, has warned that scrapping the bill would send the insurance market into turmoil and would make Trump’s campaign slogan to what he derided as “Make America Sick Again.” Vice-President-elect Mike Pence said that Republicans would bring in a “smooth transition to a market-based health care reform system.” He also added that repealing the bill was a “first order of business” for President-elect and Congress.
House of Representatives Speaker, Paul Ryan has also claimed that there are “plenty of ideas” and Republicans “have a plan” for the replacement, but during the two news conference, no details have been provided by Mr. Pence, Mr. Ryan, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
Josh Earnest, White House Spokesman, gave a strong reply. He said that even the “articulate” Paul Ryan was unable to explain why the Republicans have not put forward a replacement plan.
According to the Obama Administration, 8.8 million Americans enrolled in Obamacare in 2017, around 200,000 more than the same time last year.
Mr. Trump had called the Affordable Care Act a “disaster” and predicted that “it would fall on its own weight.” He criticized the bill during the election campaign and said that it would be replaced by a “much better and much less expensive” alternative. After the November victory and his meeting with President Obama, Trump said that key elements of the bill would be kept in place. He also made reference to one of the rules he liked; the one which prohibits insurance companies from declining coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.