In his news conference, last week President-elect Donald Trump said when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, he wants repeal and replace. And with criticism piling up from outside — and even inside — the Republican Party for its lack of a replacement plan, Trump said he’ll soon have one.
“We're going to be submitting, as soon as our [Department of Human Services] secretary [Georgia Republican Tom Price] is approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan. It will be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but it will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day, it could be the same hour,” Trump said.
As the House and Senate began the first moves for repeal, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he and the Republican Party are in sync with Trump’s thinking. “We are in complete sync. We agree we want to make sure we move these things concurrently, at the same time repeal and replace. We need to show there is a better way forward,” he said.
But what is that way? “Some of these steps will be taken by Congress; some of these steps will be taken by the incoming Trump administration after Rep. Tom Price is confirmed as Health and Human Services secretary. So, this will be a thoughtful, step-by-step process. We’re not going to swap one 2,700-page monstrosity for another. We’re not going to jam some bill through Harry Reid’s office on Christmas Eve only to find out what’s in it after it’s been passed. We’re going to do this the right way,” Ryan said.
With that said, both the House and Senate — in budget votes — took the first steps toward full repeal. The date set for disposal of the law is January 27th. While all Democrats are opposing the repeal, some Republicans in both chambers are also urging the House and Senate leadership and Trump to slow down.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus Leader Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina put that concern in perspective. “We just need to slow down the process so that we can understand a little bit more of the specifics of the timetable, replacement votes, reconciliation instructions, et cetera,” Meadows said.
As for the Democrat perspective? Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Richard Neal — who is the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee — said, “They’ve had the luxury of saying we’re going to do a better job without telling us what the better job entails.”
And maybe that’s something that needs to be considered. While the Republicans and Democrats spar over ObamaCare’s fate, what does the public want? The Kaiser Family Foundation took a look in a new survey:
• 20% want it repealed now and a replacement plan considered later
• 28% say repeal should only happen with a replacement plan in place
• 47% don’t want it repealed at all
Kaiser said 62% believe in — quote — guaranteeing a certain level of health coverage and financial help for seniors and lower-income Americans, even if it means more federal health spending and a larger role for the federal government. Just 31% want government less involved in health care.
Source links: The Hill — link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, Insurance Journal