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Trump Blames Obama for Protests Over Repeal of Healthcare Law

  • Ken Bredemeier

FILE - Laura Hayes (with microphone), of Fort Wayne, Indiana tells fellow protestors how the Affordable Care Act helped her with health costs, during a protest in front of the Supreme Court in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump is blaming his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, for recent protests against Republican lawmakers meeting with voters in their home states during a congressional recess.

The lawmakers faced angry questions about their plans to overturn Obama's national healthcare reforms, his signature legislative achievement popularly known as Obamacare. Some Republicans said many of the protesters were part of groups organized by opposition Democrats.

"I think that President Obama is behind it, because his people are certainly behind it," Trump told the Fox & Friends talk show in an interview at the White House.

"I also understand that's politics," he said. "And in terms of him being behind things, that's politics. And it will probably continue. I am changing things that he wanted to do."

Trump has vowed to repeal and replace the Obama healthcare law, telling U.S. governors and health insurance executives in separate White House meetings Monday that the law is a "failed disaster."

WATCH: Elizabeth Cherneff's report on Obamacare protests


More popular than ever

But as Republicans continue their effort to repeal it, national opinion polls show its popularity is increasing, prompting some lawmakers to adopt a more cautious stance on repealing the law after hearing complaints from constituents that overturning the law would leave them without insurance to cover costly medical bills.

Republican lawmakers have pledged for years to undo the 2010 law because they view its requirement that all Americans buy medical insurance or pay a penalty if they don't as an unwarranted government intrusion in their lives. But 20 million previously uninsured Americans have healthcare insurance because of the law, even as millions more have not been able to afford the rising cost of insurance premiums.

House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan pledged again Tuesday to repeal and replace the law, saying, "Obamacare is a collapsing law." He said deductible payments for patients making an insurance claim and the cost of premiums to buy a policy are "skyrocketing." He said the Republican changes will "give people more choices."

WATCH: House Leader Ryan on Republican Obamacare fixes


Policy changes unclear

During his run for the White House, Trump pledged to rescind the law on his first day in office, but more recently has acknowledged that repealing and replacing it might not occur until next year, even as Republican lawmakers say they plan to revamp the law in the coming months.

About half of Americans have healthcare insurance through their employers, another third are covered by government programs for senior citizens and impoverished people, while the rest are faced with buying insurance under Obamacare or have chosen to pay the penalty for not purchasing it.

Trump has not detailed to Republican colleagues in Congress which healthcare reforms he wants to pursue in replacing Obamacare, other than to allow the purchase of insurance policies across state lines in order to promote competition on the cost of the policies.

He also favors keeping two Obamacare provisions, prohibiting insurance companies from refusing to insure patients with pre-existing medical conditions that are costly to treat, and allowing young people to remain on their parents' policies until they turn 26. But funding for a replacement law is uncertain if the law's penalty tax is eliminated.

Trump said Monday that working out the myriad details of a new healthcare law has proved difficult."Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated," he said.

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