“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare
will not be successful,” Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
said in a statement.
Two of McConnell’s Senate conservatives
announced just hours earlier that they would not support the Republican leader’s latest version of legislation
to repeal portions of President Barack Obama’s landmark 2010 health care law and replace them with new, less costly health care provisions.
With Republican Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran joining Senators Susan Collins and Rand Paul in opposition — and amid a solid wall of opposition from Democrats
no longer had enough votes to pass a Republican health care Bill
in the 100-member Senate.
It was the latest in a series of health care setbacks for Republicans, despite their control of both chambers of Congress
and the White House.
It also came after seven straight years of promising voters that they would repeal Obamacare
if they were to control Congress
and the White House, only to find that the public liked Obamacare
more than their proposed substitutes, according to public opinion polls.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has determined that the various versions of Republican health care legislation
would result in anywhere from 18 million to 23 million people losing their health insurance.
Monday’s developments had an immediate impact on financial markets as Asian shares stepped back from more than two-year highs on Tuesday and the dollar extended losses.
In the United States, the latest setback delivered a major political blow to Trump, who has failed to win any major legislative initiative in the first six months of his presidency.
In response, Trump said on Twitter, Congress
should immediately repeal Obamacare
and “start from a clean slate” on a new health care plan. He said Democrats
would join such an effort, even though they have refused to have any part of an Obamacare
McConnell, apparently backing Trump’s latest approach, announced that he would try to bring legislation
to repeal Obamacare
to the Senate
floor in coming days, but with a two-year delay in implementation to assure a smooth transition.
That idea was rejected by Republicans
months ago in favour of simultaneously repealing and replacing Obamacare
in order to avoid chaos in insurance markets.