Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has blasted the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act, following its passage in the House. He asserted the legislation will not clear the Senate.
On May 4, the AHCA passed the House by a vote of 217 to 213. The legislation received no Democratic support but had won enough GOP votes after adding several amendments. Shortly after the vote, President Donald Trump celebrated with House Republicans in the White House's Rose Garden.
"We won, and we're gonna finish it off, and we're gonna go on to a lot of other things," Trump announced, according to Politico. "We're gonna get this passed through the Senate. I feel so confident."
On May 5, Sanders took to social media to assert that the Senate would block the bill.
"This Republican health care bill needs to either be flushed down the toilet or thrown in the garbage," Sanders tweeted. "It's not getting through the Senate."
On the day that of the House vote, Sanders blasted the legislation, describing it as an attempt to funnel money to the wealthiest Americans.
"The Republican 'health care' bill is a disaster," Sanders tweeted. "It has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with tax breaks for the wealthy. Our job now is to rally millions of Americans against this disastrous Republican bill to make sure that it does not pass the Senate."
Several GOP senators have already indicated they will not even vote on the AHCA but instead draft their own health care bill.
"The safest thing to say is there will be a Senate bill, but it will look at what the House has done and see how much of that we can incorporate in a product that works for us in reconciliation," Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri told the Washington Examiner.
On May 5, Trump appeared to praise single-payer systems, the health care system Sanders had proposed during his presidential campaign in 2016, The Washington Post reports.
During a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump said "We have failing health care -- I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better health care than we do."
The Australian government provides universal coverage to its citizens, largely funded through taxes.
Sanders jokingly praised the president's remarks, suggesting that he would use them while debating the GOP replacement for the ACA.
"The president has just said it!" Sanders told MSNBC. "Let's take a look at the Australian health care system. Thank you, Mr. President, we'll quote you on the floor of the Senate."