TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday night that his party had failed to unite behind the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) despite having a 52-48 majority over Democrats in the 100-member Senate.
"Regretfully, it's now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful," he said in a statement, noting that the senators would soon be voting on repealing the law.
McConnell said the replacement for the ACA, or Obamacare, would come after a “two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care."
He noted that Congress had already voted for a repeal in 2015 only to be vetoed by Obama.
The decision to drop the replacement bill came after Republican Senators Jerry Moran and Mike Lee said they would not support the current BCRA, making its passage impossible for the time being.
Several other GOPers, including Senators Susan Collins and Rand Paul, had already spoken against the bill, arguing that could slash funding for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and the disabled.
This is yet another embarrassing failure for Republicans, who saw President Donald Trump’s election victory as an opportunity to deliver on their decade-long campaign promise to introduce a new healthcare system.
Trump, who had made replacing Obamacare a pillar of his campaign, said after the new defections that Republicans should focus on repealing for now.
"Republicans should just REPEAL failing Obamacare now and work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate," he tweeted. "Dems will join in."
The new Republican president has on many occasions sought to influence lawmakers' conversations about the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Calling the ACA a “disaster,” he tweeted last week that Republicans must end “all of these years of suffering thru [sic] ObamaCare.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose party has consistently opposed the Republican healthcare reform, said Monday that the new failure showed the bill was “unworkable.”
"Rather than repeating the same failed, partisan process yet again, Republicans should start from scratch and work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long-term stability to the markets and improves our health care system."