President Donald Trump has asserted that GOP lawmakers in Congress must swiftly pass American Health Care Act (AHCA) as a replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because the Obama administration law was intentionally designed to unravel by 2017.
On Mar. 10, Trump held a meeting with both Vice President Mike Pence and House committee chairman to discuss health care policy. During the meeting, the president stated that Republicans must push the AHCA through Congress as fast, predicting that the ACA will fail within the year.
"We must act now to save Americans from the imploding Obamacare disaster," Trump said, according to Politico. "Premiums have skyrocketed... And it's going up a lot higher."
Trump then suggested that his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, had designed the ACA to fail by 2017, after he had left office.
" would be a disaster for Obamacare," Trump continued. "That's the year it was meant to explode because Obama won't be here. That was when it was supposed to be even worse."
Trump's assertion would mean that Obama had intended the ACA to implode and become a political mess for former Secretary Hillary Clinton, his preferred successor and the nominee who polls had incorrectly predicted would win the 2016 presidential election.
On Mar. 9, the AHCA had been cleared by both the House Ways and Means and Energy committees, setting it on a course for a full floor vote before April, The Washington Post reports.
During his meeting with committee chairman, Trump voiced approval for moving the legislation quickly.
"That's what people want," Trump said. "They want repeal and replace.
The president's statements arrive amid vocal disagreement within the Republican Party over the AHCA. Some members such as Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky have asserted that the bill does not repeal enough of the ACA while others, like Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, have voiced concern over how the legislation would end Medicaid expansion by 2020, Business Insider reports.
Cotton has also voiced concern about his GOP colleagues moving forward on the AHCA before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) releases an estimate of the budget and healthcare impact of the bill.
"What matters in long run is better, more affordable healthcare for Americans, NOT House leaders' arbitrary legislative calendar," Cotton tweeted out.
The CBO is slated to release its estimate on the AHCA by Mar. 13. The Brookings Institution has estimated that the CBO score will find that the Republican bill would result in 15 million Americans losing their health insurance, according to Salon.
On Mar. 8, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the Trump administration would likely disregard whatever conclusions come from the CBO report, asserting that the office has no credibility.
"If you're looking to the CBO for accuracy, you're looking in the wrong place," Spicer said.