Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said, if elected president, he would “replace and supersede” the Affordable Care Act with “a better plan,” saying that “Obamacare has not worked.”
“You will have a totally different health care plan,” the Republican presidential candidate said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, later adding, “This will be replacing Obamacare.”
DeSantis said details of the plan will likely be worked out in the spring and that his campaign would “roll out a big proposal.”
The comments come as former President Donald Trump, the front-runner in the GOP presidential race, has renewed his call to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, a move that has troubled some Republicans, given his failure to do so in his first term.
At a stop in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday, DeSantis dismissed Trump’s renewed focus on repealing Obamacare. “Didn’t he promise to do that back in 2016? I don’t think he got that one done,” the Florida governor said.
Some Trump advisers who spoke with CNN conceded that calling for the termination of a law that provides health care coverage to millions of Americans and is largely viewed favorably by the public is a political loser going into 2024. Republicans have tried and failed for years to implement substantial changes to Obamacare, and the party has largely abandoned efforts to campaign on the issue.
The resurrection of the health care battle has given Democrats fresh political ammo, and the Biden campaign quickly seized on Trump’s threats. The campaign held a press call with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, whose state last week became the 40th to expand Medicaid, to respond to Trump’s comments. The campaign also released an ad focused on health care and prescription drug costs, attempting to draw a sharp contrast with Trump.
DeSantis’ comments to “Meet the Press” come after he said Friday that he would “transcend Obamacare.”
“That was a big failure, obviously, under the Trump administration. That was a core promise that didn’t happen. … We’re gonna have a comprehensive plan to lower costs, and yes, Obamacare hasn’t done it, so we’ll transcend Obamacare,” DeSantis told Fox Carolina.
DeSantis also weighed in on the impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden. On Saturday, House Speaker Mike Johnson said he believes he has the votes to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into Biden. While DeSantis said an inquiry would be “justifiable,” he cautioned Republicans to not lose sight of what he said matters to Americans, such as border security, the economy and reining in federal agencies.
“I think they run the risk of doing an inquiry that doesn’t necessarily lead anywhere, while they’ve been ignoring a lot of the problems that are voters are talking about,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis firmly committed to staying in the 2024 race through the Iowa caucuses on January 15 but acknowledged beyond Iowa, his campaign has “a lot of work” to do.
Asked whether he would dropout if he doesn’t come in second, DeSantis projected confidence.
“We’re gonna win the caucus,” DeSantis said.
CNN’s Kristen Holmes, Alayna Treene and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.
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