| 4.6°C Belfast

Trump takes aim at Obamacare following critical report


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to a speaker during a meeting with Cuban supporters at Trump National Doral (AP)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to a speaker during a meeting with Cuban supporters at Trump National Doral (AP)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to a speaker during a meeting with Cuban supporters at Trump National Doral (AP)

Donald Trump has declared "Obamacare is just blowing up" after the US government projected sharp cost increases for president Barack Obama's flagship health care scheme.

Just two weeks before US election day, the Republican presidential hopeful addressed the health care development during an appearance at one of his Florida golf resorts.

Hoping to land some telling late blows on his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House, Mr Trump's message was somewhat scattershot, with questions remaining on how well he and his party can capitalise on a revived emphasis on Obamacare.

At Trump National Doral, the New York billionaire suggested that many of his golf course workers are having "tremendous problems with Obamacare" while highlighting a report that predicted premium increases of roughly 25% for the coming year.

A Doral employee later clarified that 95% of the club's employees are on company-provided insurance.

Mr Trump repeated his vow to "repeal and replace" the outgoing US president's signature health care overhaul.

Mrs Clinton has said she wants to keep the best of the programme, but would make improvements.

The US health department reported that premiums will go up sharply next year under the health care scheme, and many consumers will be down to just one choice for their insurer.

Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a mid-level benchmark plan will increase an average of 25% across the 39 states served by the federally-run online market. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.

The report gives some Republicans new hope in the presidential contest's final days.

Mrs Clinton has yet to comment on the projected health care increases, but she has previously promised to address health care cost increases and declining insurance options if elected.

The Democratic nominee had earlier campaigned alongside New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan, who is in a tight US senate race against Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte.

The two Democrats were helped by Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, who was merciless as she seized on recent revelations of Mr Trump's predatory sexual language and several allegations of sexual assault.

Ms Warren said of the Republican nominee: "He thinks that because he has a mouth full of Tic Tacs, he can force himself on any woman within groping distance.

"I've got news for you Donald: Women have had it with guys like you."

Mr Trump called the accusations "total fiction".

He lashed out at his latest accuser - former adult film performer Jessica Drake - who claimed he had grabbed and kissed her without permission and offered her money to visit his hotel room a decade ago.

Mr Trump told an interviewer: "One said: 'He grabbed me on the arm.' And she's a porn star."

He added: "Oh, I'm sure she's never been grabbed before."

Mr Trump, who must win Florida to have any chance of reaching the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, is appearing at three Florida campaign events on Tuesday.

Mrs Clinton, who can win the presidency with or without Florida, is making just one appearance, in the southern part of the state.

While the pair spar from a distance, hundreds of thousands of Floridians are already voting. Tuesday marks the second day of early in-person voting, while early voting by mail began two weeks ago.

Nearly 300,000 Florida voters showed up for the first day of in-person early voting on Monday, while more than 1.6 million Floridians have voted so far.

Traditionally, Republicans have run up a large advantage in mail-in-ballots, while Democrats rely on early voting to boost their turnout numbers.

This year, the parties are running nearly even. So far, slightly more than 665,000 Republican voters have cast ballots in the state, compared to slightly more than 658,000 Democrats. Another 300,000 voters with no party affiliation have also voted.

At the same time, a new national poll shows young voters turning to Mrs Clinton now that the race has settled down to two main candidates.

Mrs Clinton now leads among likely voters aged 18-30 by 60% to 19%, according to a new GenForward survey.

Young black voters were already solidly in her corner, but now young whites are moving her way, according to another survey.