President Donald Trump and White House officials on Sunday urged lawmakers to rally behind the Senate Republican health care bill — a call to action that came as several GOP lawmakers questioned whether the proposal has enough support to pass a floor vote expected this week.
Trump, in a pretaped interview with “Fox & Friends,” said it would be “so easy” to pass a new health care bill to replace the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, if there were more bipartisanship among lawmakers. He singled out Democrats for opposing the measure, though Republicans currently hold the majority of votes needed to pass legislation in the Senate.
“It would be so great if the Democrats and Republicans could get together and wrap their arms around it, and come up with something that everyone is happy with,” Trump said. “It’s so easy, but we won’t get one Democrat vote . . . if it was the greatest bill ever proposed in mankind, we wouldn’t get a vote and that’s a terrible thing.”
At least five Republican senators have announced their opposition to the bill in its current form — enough to keep the measure from passing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he would like to hold a vote this week before lawmakers break for the July Fourth holiday.
During interviews on CNN’s “State of the Union” and “Fox News Sunday,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price defended the bill, claiming it would help drive down insurance premiums and make private insurance more affordable for those low-income Americans who would no longer qualify for Medicaid under proposed cuts to the program.
“Our goal is to decrease premiums, is to make it so health care coverage is actually affordable again,” Price told CNN.
White House Counsel Kellyanne Conway said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump was prepared to negotiate with senators to ensure the bill’s passage.
“We’re very confident that the Senate bill will get through,” Conway said.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he believed the bill has a “50-50” chance of getting approved.
“The bill is just devastating, and that’s what’s making it so hard for them to pass it,” Schumer said.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) were among those who appeared on the Sunday morning talk-show circuit to voice their concerns about the proposal.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Johnson urged McConnell not to rush a vote through the Senate, saying Americans needed time to review the 142-page proposal.
“Let’s not rush this process,” Johnson said. “Let’s have the integrity to show the American people what it is.”
Collins said on ABC’s “This Week” that she had “very serious concerns” about the current bill and wanted to review the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the proposal, which is expected to be released early this week, before deciding her vote.
“It’s hard for me to see the bill passing this week,” Collins said.
Paul, who previously worked as an ophthalmologist, said GOP leaders were “promising too much” by stating the bill would drive down premiums.
“There’s no way the Republican bill brings down premiums,” Paul said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “Look, I’ve been in medicine 20 years . . . premiums have never gone down.”