Trump demands vote on healthcare plan on Friday

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, March 24 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has demanded that House Republicans vote on Friday on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, a media report said.

According to the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Trump is prepared to leave the current healthcare system established by former US President Barack Obama in place if his bill does not gain enough support in Congress, Efe news reported on Thursday.

Mulvaney relayed the President's ultimatum to Republican lawmakers, who gathered in the afternoon after postponing the vote on the bill scheduled for Thursday as they failed to reach a consensus.

However, Trump has advised House Republicans that he will not negotiate further on the content of the new proposed healthcare act, known as the American Health Care Act.

"It's time to vote," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told Fox News Network.

"As I mentioned, everybody is out there, going full court press and this is the opportunity for anyone who wants to see this done" Spicer added.

According to sources in Congress cited by The Hill magazine, the White House has agreed to remove one of the fundamental demands made by the Freedom Caucus, an ultraconservative group of Republican lawmakers who are blocking a settlement on the plan.

Members of the Freedom Caucus are pushing for the White House to remove compulsory medical coverage of what are known as "essential benefits", which among other things cover emergency assistance and maternity care.

However, more moderate Republicans have objected to roll-backs of Medicaid proposed by the Freedom Caucus, as well as their proposal to remove essential benefits.

Kevin McCarthy, who is in charge of the House voting schedule, said the vote will be carried out on Friday instead, although a time was not specified.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare was one of Trump's main election campaign promises, and has been a long-time goal for Republicans.