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President Trump slams Democratic 'obstruction' on healthcare reform bill

Senate leaders last week unveiled a revamped health care plan aimed at fulfilling Trump's pledge to repeal Obamacare, the landmark reform of his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

Published: 26th June 2017 12:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2017 12:42 AM   |  A+A-

US President Donald Trump (File | AP)

By AFP

WASHINGTON: As Republicans scrambled on Sunday to wrangle enough votes to pass health care reform legislation, US President Donald Trump lashed at Democrats accusing them of "obstruction" over the bill.

Senate leaders last week unveiled a revamped health care plan aimed at fulfilling Trump's pledge to repeal Obamacare, the landmark reform of his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

But the measure so far has failed to garner enough support to pass with only Republican votes -- although the party has a majority in the Senate -- after a handful of GOP lawmakers revolted.

"The health care bill would be so great if the Democrats and Republicans could get together, wrap their arms around it so that everybody is happy with it," Trump complained on the 'Fox and Friends' programme, in a previously taped interview broadcast early on Sunday.

"But we won't get one Democratic vote -- not one," he said. "Their theme is resist. It is obstruction," Trump said, as he singled out top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer for attack: "I saw Senator Schumer criticising the bill a couple weeks ago and he had no idea what was in the bill."

Democrats have formed a united front against the controversial health measure, criticizing it as a "war on Medicaid," the health care program for lower income Americans, and calling it a worse plan than one that passed the House of Representatives in May.

Schumer said the Republicans shouldn't expect any support from the opposition.

"As Democrats, we're doing everything we can to fight this bill. It's so devastating to the middle class," he said on ABC, putting the Republicans' chances of passing the current bill at "50-50."

For the past seven years, Republicans have worked to repeal Obamacare.

Senate Republicans are painting the new plan as less austere than the House bill which, according to a forecast by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), would leave 23 million fewer people insured than under current law.

"Right now, we've got premiums going through the roof, deductibles are sky-rocketing. Folks with health coverage cards but no care because they can't afford the deductible," Health Secretary Tom Price said on CNN, making the rounds on Sunday morning news shows to promote the Senate Republican plan.

Deductibles refer to the amount consumers must first pay out of pocket -- which can be thousands of dollars -- before their insurance benefits kick in.

"The status quo is unsustainable, completely. We've got to act. Action is absolutely vital," Price said.

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