President-elect Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that Republicans needed to "be careful" in their coming effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare, to keep blame for its shortcomings on the shoulders of Democrats.
"Republicans must be careful in that the Dems own the failed Obamacare disaster, with its poor coverage and massive premium increases like the 116% hike in Arizona," Trump wrote.
He added that Republicans shouldn't "let the Schumer clowns out of this web," referring to Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
"Dems are to blame for the mess," he said.
Trump's tweets came a day after Senate Republicans introduced a resolution that would roll back major parts of the ACA through the budget reconciliation process. It also came as both President Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence headed to Capitol Hill, where the two were meeting with lawmakers of their respective parties on the future of the law.
Health-policy experts have raised concerns that a repeal of the law without a replacement would leave more than 20 million people who have received healthcare through various aspects of Obamacare without coverage. A quick repeal could turn into a political disaster for Republicans if there is no guarantee of continued coverage for those Americans.
The possibility of the blame being pinned on Republicans has not been ignored by GOP leaders. Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich told CNN recently that Republicans had to make sure people do not lose coverage as part of an Obamacare repeal.
"They have to have bridges to give people a sense of comfort that they're not going to be abandoned," Gingrich said.
And Republican Sen. John McCain told reporters "we've got to concentrate our efforts to making sure that we do it right so that nobody's left out."
Republicans leaders in recent days have been pushing the message that Obamacare is "failing on its own," citing increasing premiums, and therefore must be repealed. Trump's tweets seem to echo this message, saying the ACA will "fall of its own weight — be careful!"
Despite the premium increases, the number of people signing up for health plans through the public exchanges set up by Obamacare is the highest in the exchanges' four-year history.