Though Republicans are itching to start on their promises to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, many of them worry about repercussions if the process stalls or takes too long.
The GOP will most likely have to take a piecemeal approach to rolling back the health care legislation, a process Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said will be the first priority of the 115th Congress.
A new health care law might not take effect for up to three years, The Associated Press reported, in order to give Congress and President-elect Donald Trump enough time to come up with a feasible replacement.
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As a physician, I know well the problems with Obamacare. I don’t think anyone has more disdain for this big government takeover of our healthcare system. It needs to be stopped, and we must replace it with reforms that move us in the opposite direction.
I will vote to repeal Obamacare in January. I believe it is something that the Republican Congress must do.
However, in our fervor to repeal Obamacare, conservatives should not forget or abandon the principles that make us conservative in the first place. Quirky, arcane rules allow Congress to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority but only if Congress passes a budget first.
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An important part of Donald Trump’s healthcare agenda is his pledge to let consumers and employers avoid unwanted regulatory costs by purchasing insurance licensed by states other than their own, a change that would make health insurance both more affordable and more secure. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that allowing employers to avoid these unwanted regulatory costs would reduce premiums an average of 13%. That’s a nice contrast to what Bill Clinton calls ObamaCare’s “crazy system where…people [who] are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.”
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Republicans will need to deliver something else that works better than the Affordable Care Act, while avoiding overpromises and disruption of care. “Repeal” of many portions of the ACA is important – done, of course, in a manner that improves, not worsens, people’s lives. The Republicans in Congress and Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services would repeal as much of the ACA as they can reach through the budget reconciliation process.
Within the individual insurance market, people with costly pre-existing conditions will gain and maintain protections against coverage exclusions or higher premiums, as long as they maintain “continuous” eligible coverage, an approach that already operates effectively across the employer-based group insurance market. This will replace the individual mandate, by operating as a positive incentive, rather than a negative burden, to become and remain insured. As mandated coverage requirements are loosened, willing buyers will be able to find willing sellers who can match their preferences and resources.
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The head of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the national trade association representing health insurers, lists three key priorities for reform:
1. Commit to policies that support continuous coverage for everyone—those who utilize insurance to obtain quality care and those who are healthy but have insurance to protect them in case they get sick. Both types of consumers must be insured for coverage to remain affordable.
2. Commit to market stability in 2017 and 2019 by funding temporary, transitional funding programs at least through January 1, 2019.
3. Reduce health costs for millions of Americans by eliminating the health-insurance tax on insurers, which is passed along to employers and consumers in the form of higher premium costs.
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Supporters of the 2010 health care law will launch a political coalition Friday to block its repeal. They’re targeting Republican lawmakers whose constituents may now be at risk of losing health insurance.
The initial goal is to stop Congress from repealing the law without simultaneously passing a replacement for some 20 million people covered through subsidized private health insurance and expanded Medicaid.
Called “Protect Our Care,” the group brings together organizations that helped pass the Affordable Care Act.
On the list are the NAACP, liberal advocacy groups like Families USA and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Service Employees International Union, which represents many health care workers, and the Center for American Progress, a think tank closely aligned with the Obama White House.
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The incoming Senate Democratic leader says his party won’t help Republicans with a new health reform plan down the road if they repeal Obamacare without an immediate replacement.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, who will replace retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in January, said Republicans will have to “own” the situation if they ditch the healthcare law but don’t immediately come up with a way to replace it.
“We’re not going to do a replacement,” Schumer said of his caucus. “If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It’s all theirs.”
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President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to name Georgia Rep. Tom Price as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services gives us a good idea of how Republicans will repeal Obamacare. Price, a doctor, understands both health care and policy. He introduced his own Obamacare replacement plan in 2013 and updated it in 2015.
Price’s plan, which seeks to create a consumer-driven health care model and is already in legislative language, is very similar to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way” health care reform outline released earlier this year. All of which means the Price plan will likely provide the framework for the Republican plan.
The three main components of the Price bill are: 1. Provide tax credits for those without employer coverage, 2. A solution for those with preexisting conditions, and 3. Expand Health Savings Accounts.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) on Thursday said they are still talking about how long a transition period will last after Congress repeals Obamacare early next year.
“That’s all a matter of discussion, it’s what we’re talking about right now,” Price told reporters Thursday, adding that he hasn’t seen draft language of a budget resolution yet. Price has been named as President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead Health and Human Services.
“It’s just premature to suggest that we know exactly how long this transition is,” Ryan said separately to reporters on Thursday.
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Heritage Action is pushing Republicans to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act and not stop at the reconciliation bill passed last year, which would have left some vital pieces of the law intact, such as the requirement that all people buy health insurance.
The conservative group, which is linked to the Heritage Foundation, released a memo Monday calling last year’s repeal effort “a floor, not a ceiling” for what a Republican Congress can do. The paper says it’s critical Republicans repeal all insurance mandates in the coming reconciliation package, including those that didn’t make it into the version that was ultimately vetoed by President Obama.
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