On the day after Christmas, President Donald Trump returned to a topic he discussed before his holiday break began: bipartisanship. Last time, he tweeted about Democrats and Republicans working together on infrastructure. This time, Trump tweeted about a new health care plan, which he says both parties will "eventually come together" to create.
Here's what the president had to say on Tuesday morning, Dec. 26:
Based on the fact that the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate has been terminated as part of our Tax Cut Bill, which essentially Repeals (over time) ObamaCare, the Democrats & Republicans will eventually come together and develop a great new HealthCare plan!
The individual mandate was indeed "terminated" when President Trump signed the GOP tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, making the Republican plan law. The mandate was a central part of the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) and required that Americans either signed up for health care or face a tax penalty.
Since Republicans in Congress unveiled their plans to repeal the individual mandate as part of a new tax law, there have been experts who have predicted that Obamacare would suffer as a result, and that higher premiums would ensue.
It's unclear what Trump meant when he tweeted that the tax bill "essentially Repeals" Obamacare over time. One guess is he could mean that without a core component like the mandate, former President Barack Obama's signature health care law will become unsustainable and ineffective.
Either way, the tax bill has not literally repealed Obamacare (as Trump has implied on multiple occasions in recent days). Obamacare, whether it suffers or not without the individual mandate, will still be U.S. law. That is, unless Congress goes out of its changes that.
Trump's tweet appears to be a prediction (and, perhaps, a hope) that Congress will do just that.
Why Trump's Tweet About Health Care Matters
Tuesday marked the second time in five days that the president took to social media to talk about Republicans and Democrats working together on major laws.
On Friday morning, Dec. 22, Trump tweeted, "At some point, and for the good of the country, I predict we will start working with the Democrats in a Bipartisan fashion. Infrastructure would be a perfect place to start. After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!"
That particular tweet came after another leading Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), said he hopes to have a "more cooperative" year with Democrats in 2018. McConnell also said he thinks Republicans will "move on" from trying to repeal Obamacare on a party-line basis, or, in other words, with GOP votes only.
"Well, we obviously were unable to completely repeal and replace with a 52-48 Senate," Sen. McConnell said in an interview with NPR. "We'll have to take a look at what that looks like with a 51-49 Senate. But I think we'll probably move on to other issues."
As McConnell mentions, there will be 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats in U.S. Senate for the majority of 2018, specifically because of Doug Jones' victory in a highly publicized Senate race against controversial Republican candidate Roy Moore.
That margin in the Senate means two things. First, it'd be even harder for Republicans to try to repeal and replace Obamacare with GOP votes only, even if they wanted to (which McConnell implies they don't). Secondly, that make it all the more likely that any effort to reform health care would indeed require Democrats and Republicans "coming together" as Trump puts it.
Even if both parties worked together on health care, though, there's no telling if Democrats would sign off on repealing Obamacare or, rather, improving the law.