Donald Trump's Republican party has failed to reach an agreement on a healthcare plan to replace the programme instituted under Barack Obama for a second time.
The US dollar fell as the failure raised further doubts over the ability of the Republican party to pass the major legislation, including tax reform, desired by investors. The dollar was down more than a third of a percentage point against the pound in morning trading.
Some Republican senators objected to legislation which, they said, did not go far enough in dismantling the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
Trump called for the Republicans to simply repeal Obamacare without instituting a replacement, saying the Democrat party will be forced to support a replacement eventually.
Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
There will now be a two-year deferral on the repeal, Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said, which will allow the party more time to reach a compromise, although it will also leave open the risk of healthcare collapsing into chaos without any viable replacement.
Announcing the failure of the bill, McConnell said: “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.”
Repealing and replacing Obamacare was a signature pledge of Trump during the presidential campaign, but his party has been divided over efforts to make large changes.
Moderate members of the Republican party balked at independent estimates that 22m people will lose insurance coverage under the new rules. However, the latest collapse stemmed from the opposition of the right wing of the party, which has objected to a programme which does not roll back the state’s involvement with healthcare.
Kansas’ Republican senator Jerry Moran, said the Better Care Reconciliation Act put forward by the Republican party would not “address healthcare’s rising costs” and said the bill would lead to a single-payer system. Many Republican politicians are fundamentally opposed to a single-payer system such as the UK’s National Health Service.
Further doubts will now be raised over the ability of the White House to make the compromises necessary to pass major legislation. The failure of Trump’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) in March triggered a small reversal in the rise US stocks and the US dollar as investor doubts over proposed tax cuts came to the fore.