Contrary to Trump’s musings, McConnell says efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are ‘largely over’

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell waited for President Biden to arrive for the State of the Union speech Thursday, March 7, in the House chamber. (Pool photo by Shawn Thew, via Associated Press)

Kentucky Health News

Obamacare, now into its second decade, is pretty much here to stay.

So says Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, contradicting former President Trump’s comments that he is still looking at ways to repeal and replace the 2010 law.

“We had a fight over that a few years ago,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday, referring to how Republicans fell short of doing that in 2017 because a few of them opposed the reversal.

“If he can develop a base for revisiting that issue, obviously we’d take a look at it, but it seems to me that’s largely over,” McConnell said of the repeal-and-replace effort, which never had a replacement measure.

McConnell’s statement “gave voice to the view shared by many Republican senators that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will be the law of the land for the foreseeable future,” writes Alexander Bolton of The Hill.

McConnell endorsed Trump last week, despite their serious differences over more than three years. He said Tuesday, “I’m going to leave the issue development in the presidential campaign up to the campaign.”

Trump said he is “seriously looking at alternatives” if he is elected and Republicans keep control of the House and regain control of the Senate.

“The cost of Obamacare is out of control, plus, it’s not good Healthcare. I’m seriously looking at alternatives,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social site last year. “We had a couple of Republican senators who campaigned for six years against it, and then raised their hands not to terminate it. It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!”

Trump exaggerated or misstated the campaign positions of Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who “voted with Democrats to defeat a narrowed-down proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act without putting a new health care subsidy program into effect,” Bolton notes.

President Biden defended the law during last week’s State of the Union speech.

“Over 100 million of you can no longer be denied health insurance because of a preexisting conditions. But my predecessor and many in this chamber want to take — the prescription drug away by repealing the Affordable Care Act. I’m not going to let that happen. We stopped you 50 times before, and we’ll stop you again.”

The main impact of the law in Kentucky has been the expansion of Medicaid to households with annual incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty threshold. In February, 1.56 million Kentuckians, more than a third of the state’s population, were enrolled in the federal-state program. For details, with county-by-county numbers, go to

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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