Republicans Set to Repeal ACA in January, Split on Timing of Replacement

December 09, 2016

Following a meeting between Senate Republicans and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, there is uncertainty within the GOP on the path forward to address the Affordable Care Act, including when to finalize a replacement bill.  The Senate intends to pass a budget resolution by January 3, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) calls the "Obamacare repeal resolution."  It would provide for repeal of major portions of the ACA on a simple majority vote using the budget reconciliation process and put the bill on President-elect Trump's desk day one of his presidency.  The GOP is torn on how long to delay the resolution’s effective date to allow for an orderly transition to a new system, with proposals ranging from six months to three years.  "It took six years to get into this mess; it's going to take us a while to get out of it," said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).  In the period between repeal and replace, senators are concerned about how they would protect the individual insurance market and address rising premiums, among other things.  With various options circulating, one Republican senator said, "It's quite likely that the Trump approach will be the Price approach," referring to the proposal from Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Trump's nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services who will soon go before the Senate for confirmation.  Incoming Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), fired a shot across the bow regarding the extent to which Democrats will work with Republicans to craft a replacement: "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."  The Governors of the American Health Policy Institute hold a conference call on Monday, December 12 to discuss AHPI's 2017 research agenda, and HR Policy, already working with other members of the business community in lobbying Congress and the new administration, will soon be reaching out to the membership to refine positions and objectives.