President Obama said Sunday that he’s OK with Republicans making changes to his Affordable Care Act and even changing its name from “ObamaCare” to “TrumpCare.”
“I’m fine with that,” the president told ABC’s “This Week.”
Obama suggested that ObamaCare will survive Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace his signature health care law. And he said that he would be the “first one” to laud Republicans if they can “come up with a system that insures more people cheaper, better.”
The president, who turns over the White House in 12 days to President-elect Donald Trump, also suggested that he has wanted to make the kind of changes to ObamaCare that Trump and fellow Republicans in control of Congress are seeking.
“But they wouldn't cooperate because they didn't want to make the system work,” Obama said.
With Trump as the next president and Republicans also controlling Congress, the GOP indeed finally has its best opportunity in roughly six years to repeal the law.
Obama’s remarks Sunday provided a glimpse into what he might have told fellow Democrats last week on Capitol Hill in a closed-door meeting about how to defend GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 law.
Obama also cited letters from Americans thanking him for providing affordable, accessible health insurance, similar to what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other congressional Democrats have done in recent days, in an apparent attempt to win public support to save ObamaCare.
Obama also pointed out that 20 million more Americans have health insurance as a result of the law and argued the country’s un-insured rate is at a record low.
“So we've got a baseline of facts,” he said.
However, under-enrollment in ObamaCare, particularly with young and healthy participants, along with doctors and insurance companies dropping out, has resulted in rising premium costs.
Senate Republicans on Tuesday, the first day of the 115th Congress, took the first legislative steps to repeal the law.
However, they made clear in the time between Trump’s November win and their return that a full replacement might take years, considering they had no alternative plan.
The situation puts them under heavy pressure from their voters, who expect lawmakers’ “Day One” promises to end ObamaCare be fulfilled.
Revamping the nation's $3 trillion-a-year health care system will be further complicated by congressional Democrats vowing to stop Republicans at essentially every step.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said if Republicans void Obama's bill, Democrats won't help them pass alternative legislation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.