Society

Trump Says Obamacare In 'Death Spiral'

| by Jordan Smith

Obamacare is in a "death spiral" and must be urgently reformed, U.S. President Donald Trump argued in remarks delivered in Ohio June 7.

Trump spoke a day after it was revealed that Anthem Inc. will not participate in Ohio's insurance exchange next year, a decision which threatens to trigger a crisis in the health care system, Reuters reported.

The Republican-controlled House passed a health care bill May 4 and the Senate is currently working on its own version.

"Obamacare is in a total death spiral and the problems will only get worse if Congress fails to act," Trump said, according to Reuters.

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Anthem noted its decision to pull out of most of Ohio's markets was connected to uncertainty as to whether the federal government would continue to fund programs for poorer residents.

Trump met with some Obamacare opponents in Cincinnati, though the main purpose of his Ohio trip was to promote his plans for new investments in infrastructure.

The president took aim at Democratic opposition to his plans.

"It's only obstruction from the Democrats. The Democrats are destroying health care," Trump added. "It's only going to be Republicans or bust. The Democrats are really in our way."

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The Congressional Budget Office, an nonpartisan group of economists and analysts, estimated that the health care plan adopted by the House would leave an additional 23 million people uninsured.

Trump maintained on June 7 that Republicans were seeking to save those affected by premium increases and the lack of insurance plans on the Obamacare markets.

"We will do something great, and we're in the process of doing it," Trump added, according to the Hill.

However, it remains unclear how quickly the Senate will be able to pass a health care bill.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr, a close ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, stated on June 1 that he thought it was "unlikely" that the Republicans would reach a health care consensus.

"I don't see a comprehensive health care plan this year," Burr added, according to The Hill.

Republicans control 52 seats in the Senate, which means they can only afford to lose two votes from their caucus. There are deep divisions within the GOP over health care, including on the issue of federal funding for Medicaid.

Republicans had hoped to finalize a draft bill for discussion this week, but reports now suggest only an outline will be available.

"Maybe they can start talking to members about a specific product next week, but I would not be surprised if we don't," a Republican aide said.

Sources: Reuters, The Hill (2) / Photo credit: U.S. Air National Guard/Wikimedia Commons

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