World

Trump vows to return with 'great healthcare plan'

US Senate healthcare bill collapses

WASHINGTON Republicans in the US Congress were in chaos over healthcare legislation after a second attempt to pass a bill in the Senate collapsed late on Monday, with President Donald Trump calling for an outright repeal of Obamacare and others seeking a change in direction toward bipartisanship.

In his latest tweets on Tuesday, Mr Trump put the blame on Democrats and a few members of his own party, but vowed to come back with "a great healthcare plan".

"We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!" Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.

"As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!"

His tweets came several hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement: "Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful."

Two of Mr McConnell's Senate conservatives announced earlier that they would not support the Republican leader's latest version of legislation to repeal portions of former president Barack Obama's landmark 2010 healthcare law and replace them with new, less costly healthcare provisions.

With Republican Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran joining Senators Susan Collins and Rand Paul in opposition - and amid a solid wall of opposition from Democrats - Mr McConnell no longer had enough votes to pass a Republican healthcare bill in the 100-member Senate.

It was the latest in a series of healthcare setbacks for Republicans, despite their control of both chambers of Congress and the White House.

It also came after seven straight years of promising voters that they would repeal Obamacare if they were to control Congress and the White House, only to find that the public liked Obamacare more than their proposed substitutes, according to public opinion polls.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has determined that the various versions of Republican healthcare legislation would result in anywhere from 18 million to 23 million people losing their health insurance.

But Republicans argue that Obamacare is a government over-reach and costs too much money.

Monday's developments had an immediate impact on financial markets as Asian shares stepped back from more than two-year highs yesterday and the dollar extended losses.

In the US, the latest setback delivered a major political blow to Mr Trump, who has failed to win any major legislative initiative in the first six months of his presidency. - REUTERS

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