Hatch: GOP ‘too divided’ to restart ObamaCare repeal

Hatch: GOP ‘too divided’ to restart ObamaCare repeal
© Greg Nash

A top Senate Republican said he thinks congressional Republicans are too divided right now to continue trying to repeal ObamaCare.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (R-Utah) said he and other senior Republicans will take that message to the Trump administration, in light of White House pressure to continue hammering out a repeal-and-replace plan that could pass both chambers.

“There's just too much animosity and we're too divided on healthcare," Hatch told Reuters on Monday.

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The Senate Finance Committee chairman’s remarks come as the Trump administration works to restart efforts to repeal ObamaCare, after Senate Republicans failed to pass a pared-down "skinny" repeal bill, 49-51, early last Friday morning.

President Trump blasted GOP senators over the weekend, saying they are "total quitters" if they don't try again on their years-long pledge to repeal and replace the law.

Hatch told reporters after the vote last week that he didn’t think Democrats showed any desire to work with Republicans on healthcare, adding, “We always have a few guys on our side that just won’t cooperate.”

He said he’s not ready to give up on repealing ObamaCare, but he suggested that Congress move on to tax reform and then return to healthcare afterward.

Hatch also said he thinks Congress is going to have to continue to appropriate cost-sharing reduction subsidies to insurance companies.

Trump has threatened to cut off the payments as soon as Tuesday to make ObamaCare "implode," while Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Sunday that “no decision’s been made" about future payments.

The subsidies reimburse insurers for providing discounted out-of-pocket costs to help people with low incomes afford insurance. If the payments were to stop, insurers would likely massively raise premiums or completely exit the marketplace.