In a Fox News interview aired Sunday, President Trump extended the timeline for his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), saying that the “very complicated” process could take until “sometime into next year.” This reference of a 2018 replacement timeline is far longer than that which has been indicated by the administration thus far.
Previously the President had promised a replacement plan “almost simultaneously” with the confirmation of Tom Price as head of the Department of Health and Human Services. However, the Senate is expected to vote on Price later this week, and Sunday’s comments clearly push the potential of a replacement plan back a year. While the President’s comments on a replacement plan were vague, he acknowledged that this extended timeline comes from the reality that a change to legislation of this size will “statutorily take a while to get.”
These comments seem to be a clear acknowledgement of the challenges Republican lawmakers are facing as they work to determine an ACA replacement plan. Recent weeks have seen various Republican proposals for replacement back off from a full repeal of the law in favor of a more piecemeal replacement plan for the ACA.
Although swift action was taken by last month’s executive order, the President’s direction that applicable agencies minimize the “unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the ACA, a study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showed that a full repeal of the ACA would leave more than 30 million Americans uninsured by the year 2026, and this reality is clearly impacting the Republican’s “repeal and replace” timeline.