Health and Science

Trump spokesman: 'We're not saying it's the end of" Obamacare replacement effort

Trump's agenda in trouble?

It ain't over til it's over.

Seventy-two hours after a humiliating retreat in the House, the Trump administration said Monday that it was "looking for a way forward" on an effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. And the administration suggested that might mean a strategy of working with Democrats on health care and other issues.

"We're not saying it's the end of health care," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters at a press conference. "But I would say we are looking for a way forward."

That way could include collaborating with Democrats on a replacement plan, given the fact that it was a relative handful of Republicans whose opposition to the leading GOP bill on that effort led to its demise last Friday.

"There's been a lot of outreach from members of both sides [of the political aisle] about this idea," Spicer said. "Obviously we're willing to listen and move forward."

"The president is eager to get to 218 on a lot of initiatives," said Spicer, referring to the number of votes needed in the House when it has full membership to get a bill passed.

"That doesn't mean we need the entire Democratic caucus, we need to have some responsible Democrats."

Spicer said Obamacare is "a failure," and "if [Democrats] want to come back to the table and recognize how we can do it in a more responsible way ... we're willing to have that discussion."

Spicer did not rule out, in a response to a question, the possibility of the Trump administration trying to achieve several hundred billion dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy through means other than the Obamacare replacement bill, as originally intended.

Obamacare replacement yanked in House as GOP fails to win support

On Friday, GOP leaders in the House, with President Donald Trump's consent, canceled a planned vote on the American Health Care Act after it became clear Republicans could not wrangle up enough votes to pass the bill.

The opposition included moderate Republicans as well as more conservative ones, who rebuffed entreaties from Trump and party leaders to get behind the bill.

It was a striking setback for the GOP, which controls both chambers of Congress, as well as the White House, and whose members for years have run on the issue of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Trump later Friday blamed Democrats for not supporting the bill, which could have rolled back much of the gains made in health-insurance coverage by Obamacare.

He also said, "We have to let Obamacare go its own way for a little while."

On Sunday, Trump tweeted a prediction that Obamacare would soon fail totally and that after that he would return to the effort of replacing the health-care law.


House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., on Friday said, "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future."

Watch: Will Obamacare 'explode'?

Trump: The best thing we can do is let Obamacare explode