Trump barrels ahead with plan to gut Obamacare

2017-03-12 07:44
Obamacare supporters react to the US Supreme Court decision to uphold President Obama's healthcare law previously. (File, AFP)

Obamacare supporters react to the US Supreme Court decision to uphold President Obama's healthcare law previously. (File, AFP)

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Washington - President Donald Trump on Saturday vowed to press ahead with a controversial plan, slowed by bickering within his Republican party, to repeal Obamacare's signature healthcare law.

"We are making great progress with healthcare. ObamaCare is imploding and will only get worse. Republicans coming together to get job done!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump, who spent part of Saturday playing golf in Virginia, told reporters that he spent part of the day strategising with his White House team on the healthcare overhaul.

The president has thrown his full weight behind a contested plan by House Republicans to replace Obamacare, battling to overcome resistance from the party's right wing in hopes of meeting a key campaign pledge.

On Saturday he dispatched his top lieutenant, Vice President Mike Pence, to the southern state of Kentucky to make a pitch for the beleaguered proposal.

Health insurance

"Here are the heartbreaking facts: today, Americans are paying $3 000 more a year on average for health insurance than the day Obamacare was signed into law," Pence told a crowd in the city of Louisville.

"Last year alone, premiums spiked by 25% and millions of Americans have lost their health insurance plans and lost their doctors," Pence said, touting the Republican reform plan, unveiled just this past Monday, as the solution.

"We're going to give Americans more choices. We'll expand health savings accounts," Pence declared.

"Under President Trump's leadership, we're actually also going to finally allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines - the way you buy life insurance, the way you buy car insurance."

Barack Obama's signature health insurance reform bill was the crowning domestic achievement of his presidency.

But like much of the rest of his legacy, it has come under attack from Trump, who has made dismantling it one of his top goals.

Republicans' market-driven plan to replace it, however, has been roundly criticised by some members of their own party - especially in the US Senate - and also has been met with consternation from conservative pundits.

Massive tax breaks

"The Republican health plan would make America's economic chasm worse. It would cut health subsidies that go to the poor while eliminating the net investment income tax, which benefits only the top 1%", right-of-centre political columnist David Brooks wrote in the New York Times a few days ago.

Democrats were no less harsh in their assessment of the Republican health care reform plan.

"They're calling it the American Health Care Act: the AHCA. But they should call it the BBBA: the Big Breaks for Billionaires Act," said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos on Saturday.

In their plan, which "takes coverage away from the people who need it the most, Washington Republicans found a way to give massive tax breaks to the CEOs of health insurance companies, as well as to America's billionaires," Bustos said.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  barack obama  |  us  |  politics  |  health

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