Opposition to the health-care bill backed by US president Donald J. Trump comes from across the political spectrum, and has only increased since a government agency estimated Monday that it would mean 24 million people could lose coverage.
But the president hasn’t weakened his support for the bill since it was introduced last week, the White House press secretary said today. In fact, it is Republicans’ only chance to repeal Barack Obama’s signature plan, he said.
“This is the only vehicle that seeks to achieve what people on our side of the aisle have been talking about since 2010,” Sean Spicer said during a briefing. “This is it. If we don’t get this through, the goal of repealing Obamacare and instituting a system that will be patient-centered is going to be unbelievably difficult.”
Many Republicans in Congress campaigned on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and some seem to view it as a way to destroy the legacy of a president and an opposition that they bitterly resent.
“This bill truly does eviscerate Obamacare,” House majority whip Steve Scalise said after it passed initial House committees late last week. “Every Democrat knew that. You could look at their faces. They knew we were about to eviscerate Barack Obama’s signature achievement.”
House majority leader Paul Ryan has said he wants the bill to go to a full vote of the House by the week of March 20, so Spicer’s words could be seen as a call for the Republican party to unify before then. The White House’s statement also makes another thing clear, though—Trump doesn’t have another alternative available if this bill fails to clear Congress.