Trump Has Demanded a New Health Care Plan Before Senators Leave Town For Summer Recess

We're not the only ones who love summer vacation—Republican and Democrat senators look forward all year to their traditional month-long August recess, during which Senate members enjoy 30 days of paid vacation time. But on top of US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postponing the Senate's break by two weeks, President Trump is now demanding Republicans submit a health care plan worthy of his approval before they leave. That's a tall order given the deep divides within his own party.

If you haven’t been following along with the progress of Trump's health care reform, let's get you up to speed. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump promised voters that he would repeal and replace Obamacare. However, that's much easier said than done, considering President Trump didn’t actually have a plan in place when the time came for him to act. Therefore, he left the work in the hands of senate majority Republicans, and their proposal left many Americans frightened. Under their plan, women could be denied coverage for basic contraceptives or pregnancy services, while those with pre-existing conditions would see a spike in their overall healthcare costs. In other words, the plan had major flaws—and on Tuesday morning, according to the Washington Post, four Republican senators and every single Democrat senator had announced they would vote no on the replacement plan, leaving the bill without enough votes to pass.

At a White House lunch with Republican senators on Wednesday, Trump criticized them for their inaction. “For seven years you promised the American people that you would repeal Obamacare. People are hurting. Inaction is not an option and frankly I don't think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan,” he said, according to ABC News. After tweeting just a few days earlier that the Senate should simply repeal Obamacare and replace it later, it seems that he changed his mind and wants to convert back to his original plan from the campaign trail of repealing AND replacing Obamacare. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska agrees, saying, “repealing the Affordable Care Act without the promise of a replacement would cause uncertainty and chaos,” ABC News reports. 

Therefore, it’s back to the drawing board for senators to create another version of a healthcare plan. With the president and Congress seemingly at odds, and given the ongoing Russian email investigation, it remains to be seen whether reaching any kind of health care compromise is possible in the time left before the summer recess.