President Donald Trump and former leader Barack Obama both made the same mistake in relying on the U.S. Congress and Senate to push through health-care legislation, a former assistant for the U.S. secretary of commerce has told CNBC.
“He just left it to the House and Senate. President Trump has made a similar mistake with what may or may not be ‘Trumpcare’ leaving it to the House and Senate,” Mary Jo Jacobi, formerly an aide to President Ronald Reagan who also worked for the administration of President George H W Bush, told CNBC Thursday.
“They’ve had seven-and-a-half years to come up with a replacement once they repeal. Now they haven’t repealed, they haven’t replaced and it doesn’t look like they’re going to do either,” she added, suggesting there could have been more executive engagement on this particular policy.
The president has been trying to salvage health-care reform after the Senate bill collapsed earlier this week due to a lack of support. Trump took to Twitter, -telling senators they must keep their promise to America to fix health care.
Yesterday, he met with lawmakers and said they should stay in Washington during their August recess in order to make progress on new health-care legislation.
Also, with Senator John McCain being diagnosed with a brain tumor, the Republicans need to find another vote to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act, according to James Pethokoukis, an economic policy analyst at the American Enterprise Institute.
“They were already having trouble coming up with 50 votes and now that just got a lot harder,” he told CNBC Thursday.
“At this point, I think the most likely scenario is they don’t have enough votes for either and Obamacare stays.”
Pethokoukis says there are a lot of Republicans who want to move on from health care to tax reform, but he warns this will not be easy.
“What I think happens there is they don’t get massive tax reform, they don’t massive tax cuts. They’ll get a tax cut, it’ll be a temporary tax cut, (which is) probably not the best thing for economic growth,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jacobi also said Trump’s short attention span was a problem for the administration.
“He’ll do something really good and then step all over the message on Twitter,” she told CNBC.
“My advice to him would be to keep his promises and then have miles to go before he tweets, paraphrasing an old American poem. He just can’t get it together and because he can’t get it together, the White House and the cabinet agencies can’t get it together either. They’re always catching up.”
Jacobi also criticized Trump’s unpredictability, which makes it harder for businesses to plan in the current environment.
“He changes his mind, he changes his position. He’s changed his mind on health care three times in the last 18 hours,” she said.
Trump made the same mistake as Obama on health care, former Reagan aide says