McConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms

McConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Senate to take up Trump's border-immigration plan next week Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that Republicans may take another crack at repealing ObamaCare if they maintain a majority in Congress.

"If we had the votes to completely start over, we'd do it," McConnell told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

"But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks," he added, referring to the midterm elections. "We're not satisfied with the way ObamaCare is working."

Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare failed several times last year, despite the party controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House.

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That was "the one disappointment of this Congress, from a Republican point of view," McConnell told Reuters.

While the House passed legislation last May that would repeal key parts of former President Obama's signature health-care law, Senate Republicans could not muster the votes needed to pass any of their plans. 

A last-ditch effort to pass a scaled-down repeal bill out of the Senate failed in July 2017 when the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO Mark Kelly considering Senate bid as Arizona Dems circle McSally MORE (R-Ariz.) cast the deciding vote against it.

The GOP repeal attempts have come back to haunt several vulnerable Republicans running in the midterms this year, primarily in the House.

As such, many Republicans have backed off talking about repealing ObamaCare on the campaign trail, a reversal from previous election cycles.

Democrats, meanwhile, have highlighted ObamaCare's popular protections for people with pre-existing conditions, arguing those are at risk if Republicans keep control of Congress in the November elections.

Election forecaster FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans an 81.5 percent chance of keeping control of the Senate, but gives Democrats an 84 percent chance of winning the House, setting up a potential firewall for any repeal efforts next year.

Senate Democrats' campaign arm seized on McConnell's comments on Wednesday.

“Republican Senate candidates have been lying on the campaign trail about their promise to protect pre-existing conditions – and Mitch McConnell just blew their cover," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Communications Director Lauren Passalacqua said in a statement.

"The GOP won’t stop until they’ve further hiked premiums for millions of Americans, eliminated coverage for preexisting conditions, and charged older Americans more for care, all so they can please their billionaire donors. "