(CBS News)- President Trump said Wednesday he now understands the complexity of health care after failed attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and he reiterated his claim that the Republican Party will now be the “party of great health care.”
“I mean it 100 percent, I understand health care now, especially very well. A lot of people don’t understand it, we are going to be, the Republicans, the party of great health care,” said Mr. Trump in an Oval Office meeting with the interim first lady of Venezuela, Fabiana Rosales De Guaidó. “The Democrats have, they’ve let you down, they came up with Obamacare, it’s terrible.”
The president cited rising costs of premiums, saying “people are going broke trying to pay” for their health care costs. He maintained, however, that his administration had “made it better” by “administering Obamacare very well” but still slammed the policy as “horrible no good, it’s something that we can’t live with in this country.”
His comments come a day after the Justice Department took the position in court that the entire ACA should be overturned. In legal papers filed Monday, the Justice Department is now arguing for the first time that the ACA is unconstitutional.
The shift in the administration’s policy, should it prevail in court, could put millions of American’s health care coverage at risk and deliver on a signature campaign promise made by Mr. Trump. The Justice Department says that it now agrees with a lower court ruling out of Texas that declared the entire health care law invalid. That ruling came a year after the GOP’s tax bill repealed the ACA’s tax penalties for people are are uninsured. The judge in the Texas case ruled the provision was so central to the law, it couldn’t stand without it.
Mr. Trump said on Wednesday that the lawsuit is just “phase one” of terminating the ACA, often referred to as “Obamacare.” He said he expects the case could reach the steps of the Supreme Court, which has already upheld the ACA twice before.
“If the supreme court rules that Obamacare is out, we will have a plan that is far better than Obamacare,” Mr. Trump vowed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has since slammed the administration’s attempts to repeal the ACA as declaring an “all-out war on the health care of the American people.”
This is a developing story.