Former House Speaker John Boehner said at a business event last week that Republicans are “not going to repeal and replace Obamacare” because “the American people have gotten accustomed to it,” according to video footage obtained by The Washington Post.
“Here we are, seven months into this year, and yet they have not passed this bill. Now, they’re never — they’re not going to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Boehner said at the event.
Boehner said the best option for Republicans was to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, like the employer and individual mandates and certain tax provisions. He added that popular parts of the law, like its Medicaid expansion, should remain.
This is not the first time Boehner has suggested that a Republican push to repeal Obamacare would not be successful. In February, the former House Speaker said at a health care conference in Florida that the Republican plan to do away with Obamacare was “not going to happen.”
He added that talk of repealing the law was “happy talk.”
Boehner’s comments last week came as the GOP is struggling to jump start its stalled effort on repealing and replacing Obamacare, which Republicans attempted to do over 60 times when former President Barack Obama was in office.
The House of Representatives passed its own version of a repeal-and-replace bill, the American Health Care Act, in May, but the Senate has since been working on its own version.
The first two versions of the Senate’s bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, were opposed by both conservative and moderate members. Moderates thought the bill’s cuts to Medicaid and the potential for massive coverage losses under the BCRA went too far. Conservatives felt the bill did not go far enough in its rollback of the Affordable Care Act’s regulatory structure.
As a result, four Republican senators said they would oppose a motion for a key procedural vote, effectively killing it last Monday.
But it looked like the GOP’s repeal push may be geared up for a comeback when Senator John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, announced on Monday that he would be returning to Capitol Hill to continue working on the health care reform effort.
McCain’s diagnosis last week was a difficult situation, but there was also the political reality that the GOP — which holds a 52-vote majority in the Senate — cannot afford to lose a single vote on its Obamacare repeal effort.
Bob Bryan contributed reporting.
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