Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke with many Republican candidates’ pre-midterm rhetoric Wednesday to discuss repealing the Affordable Care Act if Republicans succeed in the November elections.
“If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it. But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks,” McConnell said according to Reuters. “We’re not satisfied with the way Obamacare is working.”
Even though they control the House and Senate, Republicans failed to repeal and replace Obamacare like many GOP lawmakers promised in 2017.
That failure was “the one disappointment of this Congress from a Republican point of view,” McConnell said Wednesday according to Reuters.
Health care is the top issue in this year’s election cycle. Registered voters selected health care as the most important issue affecting their vote, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Thirty percent picked health care compared to 21 percent for the next most popular choice, which was the economy.
Democrats have painted Republicans as wanting to remove protections for individuals with preexisting conditions.
“If Republicans retain the Senate they will do everything they can to take away families’ health care and raise their costs,” Schumer said in a statement responding to McConnell’s remarks Wednesday according to Reuters. “Americans should take Senator McConnell at his word.”
Republican candidates have argued that getting rid of Obamacare and providing pre-existing condition protections are not mutually exclusive. Many have tried to backtrack their roles in the 2017 Obamacare repeal attempt, reported the Washington Examiner. (RELATED: Protesters Won’t Leave Melania Alone Even As She Visits Families Affected By Opioid Crisis)
The Washington Examiner highlighted New Jersey Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur, who wrote a “critical amendment” to get House Freedom Caucus votes for the House’s Obamacare repeal bill. MacArthur’s campaign website leaves out mention of the amendment, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Tom opposed his own party’s efforts at a speedy Obamacare repeal,” his website says under the header “Working to Fix Healthcare.”
MacArthur’s race against Democratic challenger Andrew Kim is ranked as a toss-up by Real Clear Politics.
Other candidates have emphasized that they do not want to return to a pre-Obamacare system on the campaign trail.
“We cannot go back to where we were before Obamacare, where people were one diagnosis away from going bankrupt because they could not get access to healthcare,” Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally said Monday during a debate with her Senate race rival Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, according to The Washington Examiner.
“We have to address the issue and we have got to make sure we protect people with pre-existing conditions but the Obamacare model has failed,” said McSally, who voted for the House bill to repeal Obamacare, according to The Washington Examiner.
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