Repeal of the 2010 health care law is a top priority as soon as Donald Trump takes office in January, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said in a Sunday television interview.
“Decisions have been made, that, by the president-elect, that he wants to focus out of the gate on repealing Obamacare and beginning the process of replacing Obamacare with the kind of free-market solutions that he campaigned on,” Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.”
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Congressional Republicans are itching to dismantle Obamacare, but a group of conservatives say the current plan to take down key parts of the law is not quick enough, and is already pushing for alternatives that completely and immediately repeal it entirely.
Republicans in the House and Senate have pointed to a repeal bill that was approved last year through a procedural move called reconciliation as a means to quickly gut the law after Trump assumes office in January. Reconciliation bills require only a simple 51-vote majority as opposed to 60 votes to break a filibuster, which means they’re a way to quickly pass a proposal in the Senate.
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On Donald Trump’s victory Republicans in Congress are primed for an ambitious agenda, and not a moment too soon. One immediate problem is ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid, which has seen enrollment at least twice as high as advertised.
Most of the insurance coverage gains from the law come from opening Medicaid eligibility beyond its original goal of helping the poor and disabled to include prime-age, able-bodied, childless adults. The Supreme Court made this expansion optional in 2012, and Governors claimed not joining would leave “free money” on the table because the feds would pick up 100% of the costs of new beneficiaries.
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The House Speaker wants Obamacare dead. The House Budget Chairman — a leading candidate for HHS secretary — wants Medicare reform. But all the focus on Republicans’ health strategies is ignoring the biggest elephant in the room: Donald Trump, a president-elect who’s spent more than a year bucking congressional Republicans — and may not share their priorities, two leading conservative thinkers tell POLITICO’s “Pulse Check” podcast.
“For all the times that the president-elect has expressed his desire to repeal and replace Obamacare … [he] campaigned on universal coverage,” said Avik Roy of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity. “That’s a very different set of principles … than you might expect from a generic Republican president-elect.”
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