Trump suggests deferring GOP health plan push to after 2020

US President Donald Trump (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is suggesting he will defer until after 2020 his push for a Republican health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Trump tweeted late Monday that Congress will vote on a GOP plan after the elections, “when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House.”

Republicans were cool after Trump surprised them last week with an unexpected pivot to the issue and his claims the GOP will be the party of health care. They don’t yet have a comprehensive plan to replace the law, known as “Obamacare.”

Trump’s effort to repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care law narrowly failed in the Senate in 2017. And while Republicans gained Senate seats last fall, there’s no indication that GOP senators want another fight over repealing “Obamacare,” particularly not those up for re-election next year.

Health care, especially protections for people with pre-existing conditions, resonates with voters and helped Democrats in the November elections.

According to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters nationwide, nearly 4 in 10 Democratic voters identified health care as the most important among a list of key issues. A Quinnipiac University poll last week found 55% of Americans supporting the improvement and not the replacement of the nation’s health care system.

With Democrats controlling the House, any attempt to dismantle the law could not pass Congress.

Still, Trump last week appeared to commit his party to a new push for a plan to replace the health law.

“We are working very hard on that,” Trump said as he was heading out to a Michigan rally.

He said Republicans “are going to work together to come up with something that’s really spectacular.”

In his late-Monday tweets, Trump claimed Republicans are developing a plan with cheaper premiums and deductibles that “will be truly great HealthCare that will work for America.”

Challenges to the 2010 law are making their way through courts.

Last week, the Trump administration told a federal appeals court it wants the entire Affordable Care Act struck down, an outcome that could leave millions of people uninsured and reignite a winning political issue for Democrats.

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