President Donald Trump called out Senate Republicans on Monday for not yet repealing Obamacare.
Trump gave a public statement after meeting with a group of people the White House called “victims” of Obamacare. Trump said Senate Republicans have so far “not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare.”
But he also criticized Democrats in his remarks, calling them “obstructionists.”
“The Senate is very close to the votes it needs to pass a replacement. The problem is, we have zero help from the Democrats,” he said.
“They run out [and] they say death death death, but Obamacare is death,” Trump added.
Trump said every promise made during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act was “a big, fat, ugly lie.”
“For the past 17 years, Obamacare has wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent hardworking Americans,” Trump mistakenly said in his statement, which he read from a teleprompter in the White House. (It’s been a law for seven years.)
Trump spoke in vague terms about the GOP’s health care plan, likely because it’s not clear what that plan is ― not even to Senate Republicans, who are slated to vote on a procedural motion on a House-passed health care bill Tuesday. Doing so will allow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring up something else for debate, though he hasn’t yet said what that will be.
Trump has repeatedly promised to replace Obamacare with “something terrific,” but in scoring the recent various GOP proposals on health care, the Congressional Budget Office predicts 22 million to 32 million people could lose their coverage.
Facing the prospect that Republicans may not be able to pass a bill, Trump has also argued that lawmakers should “let Obamacare fail.” However, some studies have signaled the insurance markets are stabilizing, even though many problems remain.
“We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us,” Trump said last week.
Tom Price, secretary of health and human services, and Vice President Mike Pence both spoke before Trump, praising his work and “positive vision” on health care.
This story has been updated with more details about current health care proposals.
Jonathan Cohn contributed to this report.