Trump vows to introduce executive order on health insurance
Alabama voters pick firebrand as US Senate nominee as Trump deletes support for rival
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, US president Donald Trump said Congress would return to the healthcare issue in the first few months of 2018. Photograph: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg
US president Donald Trump, faced with the latest congressional failure to undo Obamacare, said on Wednesday he was working on an executive order to expand access to health insurance and would negotiate with Democrats for a legislative solution by next year.
Senate Republicans abandoned their latest effort to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act on Tuesday after failing to secure sufficient support.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Mr Trump said Congress would return to the healthcare issue in the first few months of 2018 and said he had the votes to get it done. In the meantime, he said he would work with Democrats to make the effort one that had support from both parties.
“I am . . . going to meet with Democrats and I will see if I can get a healthcare plan that’s even better,” he said. “So I will negotiate with Democrats but from the Republican standpoint we have the votes. We’ll vote in January, February or March.”
The executive order Mr Trump is eyeing would allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines through so-called health associations, a measure advocated by Republican senator Rand Paul.
“I am considering an executive order on associations and that will take care of a tremendous number of people with regard to healthcare and I’ll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things and buy their own healthcare,” Mr Trump said.
He said the order was being finished now.
Republican leaders decided not to put their latest version of Obamacare repeal to a vote on Tuesday when it became clear they did not have enough support, despite their Senate majority.
The Bill’s sponsors vowed to try again but face steeper odds after Saturday, when special rules expire that allow them to pass healthcare legislation without Democratic support.
Separately, Alabama voters elected conservative firebrand Roy Moore as the Republican nominee for a US Senate seat on Tuesday, dealing a blow to Mr Trump and other party leaders who had argued that rival Luther Strange was a better bet to advance their priorities in Washington.
An outspoken evangelical Christian who has twice lost his position as the state’s top judge, Mr Moore won election with a fierce anti-Washington message and a call to put religion at the centre of public life. “We have to return the knowledge of God and the constitution of the United States to the United States Congress,” he said.
With all 67 counties reporting, Mr Moore led Mr Strange by 55 per cent to 45 per cent. Despite campaigning for Mr Strange, Mr Trump congratulated Mr Moore for his victory and urged him to defeat Democrat Doug Jones in the December election to fill a seat that was held by Jeff Sessions before he became US attorney general in February.
“Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
Mr Trump deleted three other Tweets, voicing his supported for Mr Strange. In one deleted Tweet, the president said Strange “will never let you down!” and in another he said “vote today for ‘Big Luther’,” according to media.
Mr Moore (70) is favoured to win the December election, as Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992. – (Reuters)