The Senate voted 51-48 early this morning to advance a budget resolution starting the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act, with only Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) crossing party lines. Democrats forced roughly seven hours of mostly symbolic votes, and GOP senators withdrew an amendment that would have formally given more time to lawmakers crafting forthcoming reconciliation legislation that would repeal the law. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said yesterday that Democrats intend to ensure that Republicans are held responsible for any chaos caused by ending the ACA. “Put this irresponsible and rushed repeal plan aside,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Work with us Democrats on a way to improve health care in America, not put chaos in place of affordable care.” In his news conference yesterday, President-elect Donald Trump insisted that repeal would not occur without a replacement plan. “Obamacare is the Democrats’ problem. We’re going to take the problem off the shelves for them. We’re doing them a tremendous favor,” Trump said.
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Republicans have been winning elections for years by promising to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Now that the dog has caught the car, we have to know what to do with it. Republicans have captured the White House, and kept the House, Senate and a majority of the governors’ offices. There are no more excuses, and voters are rightfully expecting quick and bold action.
Already, though, the media is beginning to highlight or perhaps even create differences among the Republican victors, with stories about some in the party wanting a quicker timeline for repeal than others. Before we get bogged down by a debate about whether Obamacare should be repealed within two or three years (and I am for sooner than later), it would be helpful to remember why conservatives have opposed Barack Obama’s health law so vehemently. And no, despite the president’s protests, it is not simply because of the name. Articulating our principled objections will help inform how Republicans should replace this flawed legislation.
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House and Senate Republican leaders are forging ahead with plans to repeal Obamacare then replace it later — dismissing mounting pressure from their own party to delay the repeal vote until they have a fully formed alternative.
But they’re hoping to ease internal concerns that Republicans will be attacked for acting hastily — worries that accelerated after libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) bucked party leadership on the matter last week and received a blessing from President-elect Donald Trump. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and their top lieutenants in both chambers are now considering a strategy that includes adding some replacement provisions to the repeal bill, according to lawmakers and aides.
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Nearly two-thirds of registered voters say Congress should not repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan, a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll finds.
President-elect Donald J. Trump demanded on Tuesday that Congress immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass another health law quickly. His remarks put Republicans in the nearly impossible position of having only weeks to replace a health law that took nearly two years to pass.
“We have to get to business,” Mr. Trump told The New York Times in a telephone interview. “Obamacare has been a catastrophic event.”
Mr. Trump appeared to be unclear both about the timing of already scheduled votes in Congress and about the difficulty of his demand — a repeal vote “probably some time next week” and a replacement “very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter.”
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After six years of pushing for a repeal of Obamacare, some on the right are now critiquing Congress’ effort for repeal. Their arguments do more to confuse the issue than to present a viable path forward for eliminating the harmful effects of this law.
Congressional Republicans appear set to finally repeal Obamacare using reconciliation, a process that allows them to overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate and pass budget-related legislation with a simple majority of the chamber’s members.
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Last November, the American people voted for change in Washington. They elected Republican majorities to both chambers of Congress and elected a Republican president because, as a party, we pledged to fix the broken status quo of the past eight years.
Reforming our dysfunctional federal government and restoring sanity to our nation’s capital starts with relieving the American people from the burdens and excessive costs of our defective health care system and requiring Washington to once again live within its means.
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Liberals want to label the Republican repeal and replace effort a failure before the hard work even begins. There is a replace plan, but confusion is raging among the media, perhaps because its details and logic haven’t been explained in public. Congress has a narrow window to use the reconciliation measure early to repeal the law because the procedure is a leftover from the last fiscal year. While the repeal train advances in Congress, the same congressional committees will debate a replacement. This parallel measure will require 60 Senate votes, and the GOP is inviting Democrats to contribute. The replace portion would keep the Obamacare status quo for two or three years to allow a phase-in and orderly transition, but the GOP won’t wait two or three years to design the new system.
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Growing numbers of Republicans showed discomfort Monday over obliterating President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul without having a replacement to show voters. Hoping to capitalize on the jitters, Democrats staged a late-night Senate talk-a-thon to condemn the GOP push.
With Donald Trump just 12 days from entering the White House, Republicans have positioned a repeal and replacement of Obama’s 2010 health care statute atop their congressional agenda. But GOP lawmakers have never been able to rally behind an alternative, and Republican senators are increasingly voicing reluctance to vote to yank health coverage from millions of people without a substitute.
That hesitancy was fed as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., among those who want to delay repeal until a substitute is ready, said Mr. Trump telephoned him Friday night and expressed support for doing both together.
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Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, laid out his ideal approach to repealing and replacing the ACA on the Senate floor Tuesday. Alexander argued for repealing the law once specific plans are in place and for giving states more authority. Alexander only wants to see Obamacare repealed once “there are concrete, practicable reforms in place. … It’s not about developing a quick fix. It’s about working toward a long-term recovery that works for everyone,” Alexander said. Alexander seeks to “rescue” those who are currently on the ACA exchanges and ensure that the insurance market is stable, give states more flexibility with their Medicaid programs, expand Health Savings Accounts, and eliminate the employer mandate. You can watch Sen. Alexander’s speech here.
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