U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening once more to end required payments to insurance companies unless lawmakers repeal and replace Obamacare.
In apparent frustration over Friday's failure by the Senate Republican majority to pass a bill repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act, Trump tweeted Saturday: "If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!"
No Democrats voted for the Republican bill.
If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!— @realDonaldTrump
Repealing and replacing the act has been a guiding star for Republicans ever since former president Barack Obama enacted the law. That goal, which was one of Trump's top campaign promises, remains out of reach even with Republicans controlling both the White House and Congress. The issue has dominated the opening months of Trump's presidency.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the bill failed early Friday that he would move to other legislative business in the upcoming week.
The subsidies are required under the law. They total about $7 billion US a year and help reduce deductibles and copayments for consumers with modest incomes. But the payments are the subject of a lawsuit brought by House Republicans over whether the law specifically included a congressional appropriation for the money, as required under the U.S. Constitution. Trump has only guaranteed the payments through this month, which ends Monday.
Trump previously said Obamacare would stop immediately whenever those payments stop.
'Stop playing politics'
The Senate's Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, said such a step will make health care even more expensive.
"If the president refuses to make the cost-sharing reduction payments, every expert agrees that premiums will go up and health care will be more expensive for millions of Americans," Schumer said Saturday in a written statement. "The president ought to stop playing politics with people's lives and health care, start leading and finally begin acting presidential."