HHS Secretary Tom Price has signaled that the Trump administration is on board with a bipartisan solution following Congress’ failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, although the president himself was more focused on needling prominent Republicans on Twitter about the failed vote.
Price said in an interview with Fox News that the “onus is on Congress” to find a solution to rising premiums in the ACA’s exchanges, particularly in the wake of Anthem’s further exchange exits this week.
“Folks in the House and the Senate, on both side of the aisle, frankly, have said Obamacare doesn’t work and needs to be replaced or fixed,” Price said.
Price said the Trump administration believed that either the House’s American Health Care Act or the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act would have been positive steps forward for healthcare reform, but as both bills have failed, Congress will have to chart another course.
Price’s interview comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that the president set “artificial deadlines” for Congress on its repeal, reports The Wall Street Journal.
“Our new president has of course not been in this line of work before and, I think, had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process,” McConnell said.
Trump responded on Twitter, where he taunted McConnell for failing to repeal the ACA, as congressional Republicans have long promised.
Senator Mitch McConnell said I had "excessive expectations," but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017
Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2017
Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2017
The Senate’s ACA repeal efforts were struck down at the last minute in a dramatic fashion by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who flew in to Washington specifically for the healthcare debate amid treatment for brain cancer. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said that McCain’s health may have played a role in his decision to vote against the Senate’s “skinny repeal.”
“He has a brain tumor right now. That vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning. Some of that might have factored in,” Johnson said in an interview with Chicago’s AM560 radio.
Following backlash to the suggestion that McCain’s brain tumor contributed to his decision to spike the repeal effort, Johnson walked back the comments in an interview with CNN, saying he was just “expressing sympathy” for McCain.