President Obama’s policies, executive orders and much of what a Democrat-controlled Congress passed, and what the party could keep in a split powered Congress is in danger. Republicans are already moving on the Affordable Care Act and have plans for other changes.
While Republicans wait for the inauguration of Donald Trump to really get going, the Democrats are plotting roadblocks. That will set up a Supreme Court Justice nominee tussle, tax reform fights and lots of pushback on Trump’s cabinet nominees.
On business, House Speaker Paul Ryan says President Obama overdid regulations and the Republican Congress is going to make some changes. “I hear probably more about the strangulation of regulations on business and their growth and their development than probably anything else. I think if we can provide regulatory relief right away, that can breathe a sigh of relief into the economy,” Ryan said.
But the battle that will be the most publicized is the growing controversy over the repeal of President Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Repeal is a certainty but no Republican plan is emerging out of all the bluster.
It’s a fact not lost on President Obama.
“If they’re so convinced they can do it better, they shouldn’t be afraid to make that presentation. It is interesting to try to figure out why is it that they’re trying to rush the repeal so quick? What is it that they’re afraid of?” Obama said in an interview.
The president wants to see a Republican plan put beside the Affordable Care Act so people can compare page for page. “Let the American people gauge: Is this going to result in something better than what Obamacare has produced?” Obama added.
He also said he’d definitely support a Republican plan if it’s better than what he managed to get passed and covers more people at a lower cost. “If it works, I will be the first one to say, ‘Great, you should have told me that back in 2009.’ I suspect that will not happen,” he said.
Vice President elect Mike Pence said the president elect is preparing a series of executive orders to assist once the Republican Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act. “We’re working now on a series of executive orders that will enable that orderly transition to take place even as Congress appropriately debates alternatives to and replacements for ObamaCare,” he said.
But — again — President Obama said cooler heads need to prevail. He met with Democrats last week to see what can be done to stave off disaster. “Despite the negativity, you have a big chunk of the country that wants this thing to succeed. There are real lives at stake in this thing,” Obama added.
Speaker Ryan countered and said Republicans are well aware that this is serving a big chunk of America but it’s also a disaster. “This law has failed. Americans are struggling. We want to make sure we don’t pull the rug out from anybody during that transition. That’s the point we’re all trying to make,” Ryan said.
However, many Republicans like Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee are worried that ObamaCare will just be dumped without a replacement. “It'd be best to do it all at one time, and not have the uncertainty. I realize that's not the path that's been taken. I think everyone would acknowledge that it's fraught with potential destabilizations of the market and never finding a replacement, but that's the path that obviously is being taken,” he said.
What Republicans do agree upon is making whatever passes much simpler. Sen. David Perdue of Georgia said, “We need to put patients in charge of their health-care choices with a free-market solution that increases access and lowers the overall spiraling costs of health care, which Obamacare did nothing to address.”
Republicans have a ton of problems to overcome and the biggest of all may be a replacement that doesn’t cover everybody. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Ryan won’t address the topic when questioned. Both have avoided a direct answer.
However, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough asked Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, “If Americans have healthcare today under the Affordable Care Act, will they have healthcare — it sounds like Donald Trump is saying they will have healthcare — under whatever replaces it?”
Her answer was immediate. “That is correct. We don’t want anyone who currently has insurance to not have insurance,” she said.
Source links: New York Times, The Hill — link 1, link 2, link 3, Insurance Business America, Washington Post, Carrier Management