(CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that he plans to continue the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare — the same day President Donald Trump called for repealing the law immediately and replacing it later.
“Think of it this way … I’m sitting there with a Rubix cube, trying to figure out how to twist the dials to get to 50 to replace this with something better than this,” the Kentucky Republican said at the Hardin County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner, referring to the number of senators needed to pass a bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
Finding a replacement for the law is “very challenging,” but allowing Obamacare to remain in place is not an option, McConnell said, according to a video of his remarks posted on the website of the Courier-Journal newspaper, based in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Obamacare is a disaster,” the Kentucky lawmaker said. “No action is not an option.”
Fewer than one in five Americans approve of the Senate health care bill, according to an NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll released Wednesday, and 55% of Americans disapprove.
McConnell said he is well aware of the health care challenges facing Americans.
“Middle-class families are getting hammered,” he said. “The American people said, ‘We elected a Republican president, a Republican House and a Republican Senate. We want to see some results.’ And I can’t say anything other than, ‘I agree with you,’ but it’s not easy, and we are going to continue to wrestle this and try to get it done.”
A group of Republican senators sent the GOP leader a letter Friday requesting that August recess be canceled or shortened to give the party more time to make progress on healthcare and other legislative issues.
And earlier this week, McConnell delayed the vote on health care bill until after the July 4 recess, telling GOP senators that he wants to make changes to the bill, get a new Congressional Budget Office score and have a vote after the holiday. On Friday, Trump called for the immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act and replacing it later with another health care plan if Republican senators are unable to pass their bill.
But Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois rejected the President’s suggestion, saying it could harm Americans.
“I think it’s repeal and replace,” Kinzinger told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Friday on “New Day.” “We can argue whether they like the system we’re bringing them in or not, but simply a repeal, even with the sunset the year or two down the road — the problem (is) we know how Washington works.”
“Sometimes on deadlines we still don’t get things done,” he added. “You can’t leave the American people out like this. This is how sequester happened, because we thought we could fix the problem and never did.”