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The Timing of “Repeal and Replace”


With President Obama’s farewell address behind us, and President-elect Trump’s inauguration just around the corner, Republican leaders are focused on the timing of the proposed dismantling of Obama’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act. While there is party unity in opposition to the law continuing, this week the lack of a consensus in regards to plan specifics and timing has become evident. The issue of timing is an important one, with President-elect Trump stating at a recent press conference that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and introduction of a replacement plan, “will be essentially simultaneously.”

Senate health committee Chair Lamar Alexander, echoed Trump’s preference for a simultaneous repealing and replacing of the law, but specified that, “To me, ‘simultaneously’ and ‘concurrently’ means Obamacare should be finally repealed only when there are concrete, practical reforms in place that give Americans access to truly affordable health care.” Alexander’s sentiments are in line with other “repeal and delay” plans such as that proposed by Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which would keep most of the Affordable Care Act in place for up to four years while a replacement plan is finalized.

With timelines ranging from immediately to multiple years in the future, all eyes will be on the votes coming this week which could protect repeal legislation from a Democratic filibuster, give House Republican leaders the ability to approve a version of a resolution next week, and fast-track the repeal of major provisions of the Affordable Care Act. An amendment was offered to extend the target date for Senate committees to write an ACA repeal bill from January 27th to March 3rd to ensure that “the incoming administration will have additional time to get the policy right.”

While leaders seem to be grappling with the reality that “repeal and replace” could disrupt health coverage for tens of millions of people who have obtained coverage through the law, party leaders continue to enjoy common ground in their ongoing commitment to repealing the Affordable Care Act, but the question of when remains unclear.

Article published in Affordable Care Act

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