The White House and GOP lawmakers seriously underestimated the difficulty in repealing Obamacare, Politico reported.
Republican leaders, along with the Donald Trump’s transition team, had originally anticipated Congress would roll back the healthcare law in late February, Politico reported. The website attributed its information to current and former Republican congressional aides.
As efforts to repeal and replace the law now reach into the summer, lawmakers are conceding they misjudged the challenges they face, Politico noted.
“It’s easier to rage against the machine when you’re not in control of the machine, No. 1. And the perception that we are in control of the machine is inaccurate,” said Sen. Tim Scott R-S.C.
“Needing 50 out of 52 members on the same page in the Senate? I think that is not being in control of the machine.”
And Larry Leavitt, a senior vice president at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation and senior health policy adviser during the Clinton administration, added: “Healthcare looks much easier when you’re at the talking point level. It always gets more difficult as you start filling in the details.”
But a White House aide told Politico all the problems will be forgotten if Trump is able to sign a new healthcare bill by August.
“If, a week from now, we have completed the repeal of Obamacare, I don’t think people looking back on it will do the woulda, coulda, shoulda game,” the aide said.
But consideration of the latest version of the GOP’s healthcare plan has been delayed while Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., recovers from surgery.
“While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
Holding a 52-48 majority, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes, Fox News reported. Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie for final passage.
Complicating the GOP leadership efforts are Republicans Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, who have already said they’ll vote against the measure.
Meanwhile, some Republican senators say they would have preferred starting off with tax reform, Politico reported. They claim tax reform would have done more to unify the party.
“I would have much preferred to start off with tax, said Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. “But that wasn’t my decision. Tax is the heavy lift here. It’s not going to be easier than health care. And we’ve been doing this for seven months.”