Trump calls Obamacare 'lie from the beginning,' calls for bipartisan fix


WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Republican President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday kept up his attacks on Democrats and Obamacare while calling for a bipartisan effort in Congress to come up with a healthcare alternative that would lower costs and improve care.

In a series of tweets, Trump, who takes office later this month, blasted Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer and his fellow Democrats, who have vowed to preserve President Barack Obama's legacy-defining healthcare law even as Republicans move ahead with their long-sought bid to scrap it.

"The Democrats, lead by head clown Chuck Schumer, know how bad ObamaCare is and what a mess they are in. Instead of working to fix it, they do the typical political thing and BLAME," Trump tweeted.

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"It is time for Republicans & Democrats to get together and come up with a healthcare plan that really works - much less expensive & FAR BETTER!" he added.

Schumer ramped up his attacks on Trump's planned healthcare overhaul on Thursday, calling for a congressional investigation into the president-elect's pick to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Representative Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, over his reported stock trades in healthcare companies.

On Wednesday, Obama met with Democrats on Capitol Hill as they formed a strategy that appeared aimed at warning that Republicans risk throwing the entire U.S. healthcare system into disarray by dismantling the Affordable Care Act, without a plan to replace it.

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With no replacement by Republicans, as early as 2018 the roughly 20 million people who gained health insurance under the law could see their coverage in jeopardy.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, after separately meeting with Republicans who control both the House and Senate, said on Wednesday repealing the 2010 law was the "first order of business" of the Trump administration.

Republicans criticize Obamacare as an excessive government intrusion into the healthcare market and contend it is harming job growth by burdening businesses. They say they have a plan to replace it but have offered few details.

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Pence said Trump would work with congressional leaders to ensure a smooth health care transition through legislation and executive action.

Democrats acknowledge they lack the votes to stop repeal legislation being pushed by Republicans, who will control the White House and both chambers of Congress when Trump takes office.

On Thursday, Schumer and other top Democrats on the Senate health and finance committees planned a morning press conference to call for a House Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into Price's investments.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon, traded more than $300,000 in stocks of health-related companies over four years, the Wall Street Journal reported in late December, while advocating legislation that potentially could have affected their stock prices.

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