Some Republicans appear to be losing hope in the party’s ability to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina suggested as much on Tuesday, saying that a “full repeal was, in essence, a pipe dream from the very start.”
Sanford made the comments during an interview with Vice News reporter Alexandra Jaffe.
The lawmaker suggested that the most Republicans can hope for is to pass the version of the American Health Care Act that includes the so-called MacArthur amendment. The amendment would allow states to waive certain protections of Obamacare, including aspects of its community-rating provisions that mandated all people who are the same age be charged the same price by insurers, Business Insider’s Bob Bryan reported on Tuesday.
Sanford made a broader point about the Republican Party’s repeal efforts in the age of Trump, who enjoys a Republican-controlled House and Senate:
“It’s like when I was in Congress in 1994, people talked about the Republican revolution. It was false advertising from the start. Our system is designed to guard against revolutions. It is an incremental process,” he said.
Indeed, the Affordable Care Act took more than a year to get from President Barack Obama’s first proposal in a joint session of Congress to the moment he signed it into law.
Sanford’s remarks reflect the prolonged wrangling in Congress over a replacement healthcare bill. The GOP’s much-maligned American Health Care Act fizzled before it ever reached the House floor in March. House Speaker Paul Ryan said at the time that the Affordable Care Act would remain the law of the land.
But soon, President Donald Trump, who has made an Obamacare repeal a central part of his agenda, began signaling that negotiations over the Republican healthcare bill were ongoing. It became clear on Tuesday that the AHCA revival may suffer the same fate as it did weeks ago, as Republicans were scrambling for votes.