The top Republican in the Senate admitted Monday that his chamber’s review of the Obamacare care replacement bill passed last week by the House would be slow, as the White House avoided saying whether President Trump even regarded health care as a fundamental right.
“This process will not be quick or simple or easy, but it must be done,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Monday about his chamber’s handling of a proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.
His cautious comments affirm remarks in recent days by other Republicans, who have claimed the House legislation would likely stall in the Senate, marking yet another hurdle for the GOP’s efforts to carry out a promise eight years in the making.
House GOP leaders on Thursday managed to squeak through the legislation by a narrow 217-213 majority on their second try in bringing it to the floor.
The bill still has to make it through the Senate, where its prospects are shaky at best — but the passage was a major victory for Trump, who seemed happily surprised at his success.
But the bill, which hasn’t even yet been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, could cause 24 million people to lose insurance coverage, raise prices on older Americans and potentially hurt some people with preexisting conditions — all of which has prompted a storm of negative publicity for the White House.
The Trump camp, nevertheless, dug in deeper Monday, as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer refused to say that his boss saw health care as a fundamental right.
When asked during his daily press briefing earth Trump saw health care as “a right or a product,” Spicer balked.
”I think the President has been very clear in his statements that whether or not you call it a right or not, he wants every person to have access to health care,” Spicer said. “I think that the steps he’s taken over the past week and the bill he worked to pass through the House clearly highlight those priorities. He wants to be sure people have access to care.”