President Trump hasn’t been settling on a single strategy to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
Indeed, Trump has touted several different stances over the past 36 hours to fulfill the GOP campaign promise to dismantle Obamacare.
He started off this week pushing for a “repeal and replace” plan, under which an alternative approach to health care would be promptly implemented. He later switched to advocating doing nothing, allowing Obamacare to simply “fail” and give him more leverage in negotiations. He then pushed for a so-called clean repeal, which would give the Republicans two years to figure out Obamacare’s replacement. Finally, on Wednesday, he returned to repeal and replace.
During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to repeal and replace the bill, but since taking office he has struggled to pass the legislation through a Republican-controlled Congress. The House version of the bill passed in May by a narrow margin, but key Republican senators have since balked at various proposals.
Below is a timeline of Trump’s changing positions on health care:
Nov. 13, 2016: Repeal and replace
In his first interview after becoming president-elect, Trump told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he would repeal and replace Obamacare.
“We’re going to do it simultaneously,” he said of the strategy, saying he’d keep parts of former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. “It’ll be just fine. We’re not going to have, like, a two-day period and we’re not going to have a two-year period where there’s nothing. It will be repealed and replaced.”
2017: Repeal and replace
Trump has called for a “repeal and replace” strategy throughout much of the year.
Hopefully Republican Senators, good people all, can quickly get together and pass a new (repeal & replace) HEALTHCARE bill. Add saved $'s.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
So impt Rep Senators, under leadership of @SenateMajLdr McConnell get healthcare plan approved. After 7yrs of O'Care disaster, must happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2017
July 17, late evening: Repeal now, replace later
But by mid-July, Trump had changed his mind. On Monday of this week, the president endorsed an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act immediately and to work on a replacement plan later.
“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate,” Trump tweeted. “Dems will join in!”
July 18, morning: Let Obamacare fail and create a new plan
Tuesday afternoon, Trump switched up his message once more, stating that he wanted to let Obamacare fail first.
“As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan,” Trump tweeted at 7:58 a.m. “Stay tuned!”
As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
“Let Obamacare fail,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “I’m not going to own it.”
The president said he was disappointed in Congress for not passing the repeal and replace bill. If Congress lets Obamacare fail, Trump said, it would force Democrats to join the Republicans and work to develop a stronger solution.
July 18, mid-morning: Clean repeal again
Trump appeared to change course again on Tuesday, when Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday that he and Trump supported a clean repeal strategy.
Pence said in a speech that he and the president “fully support” McConnell’s effort to pass a clean repeal bill.
“President Trump and I fully support the majority leader’s decision to move forward with a bill that just repeals Obamacare and gives Congress time, as the president said, to work on a new health care plan that will start with a clean slate,” Pence said. The vice president, who had played a key role in ushering the legislation through the House, urged lawmakers to “replace now and replace later,” in his speech.
July 19: Back to repeal and replace again
Trump urged Republican lawmakers Wednesday to continue working toward a repeal and replace plan to dismantle Obamacare.
“We have to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Trump said at a lunch with some senators Wednesday. “We can repeal it, but the best is repeal and replace.”
“[The Republican health care bill] will get even better at lunchtime,” Trump tweeted before his lunch with GOP senators.
The president also told senators that they should stay in Washington until they can come to an agreement.
“Frankly, I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan,” Trump said. “Because we’re close. We’re very close.”
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