Health

McConnell: Obamacare Repeal Beginning This Week

| by Robert Fowler

The Senate Majority Leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has signaled that his colleagues will make their first concrete move towards repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) within the week.

On Jan. 8, McConnell stated that the GOP-controlled Congress would be moving swiftly towards repealing large sections of the ACA while seeking a replacement health care system soon after.

"I mean, you have to both repeal and replace… there ought not to be a great gap between the first step and the second," McConnell told CBS News.

While McConnell did not offer to a specific timeline for when Republicans would offer ideas to replace the ACA, he said that GOP lawmakers would introduce replacement plans "quickly."

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The Senate Majority Leader was more forthcoming about when repeal would begin -- within the week.

"The first step will be taken in the Senate by the end of this week, yes," McConnell continued. "And then it'll go over to the House."

McConnell concluded that even if a plan to replace the ACA has not been produced, repeal cannot be delayed because "The status quo is simply unacceptable… if Hillary Clinton had been elected, we'd be revisiting Obamacare."

On Jan. 9, McConnell penned an op-ed for Fox News pitching the repeal of the ACA, deriding the health care law as a failure, writing "It didn't lower costs, it didn't increase choice, middle-class families continue to lose health plans they were promised they could keep, and Americans continue to call for Obamacare's repeal."

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The Senate Majority Leader referenced the current GOP plan to institute a repeal of the ACA while delaying the impact of uprooting it.

"There will be a stable transition period, and once repeal is passed we will turn to replacement policies that cost less and work better than what we have now," McConnell wrote.

Republican lawmakers plan to repeal key components of the ACA by first passing a budget resolution followed by a budget reconciliation bill. The legislative maneuver would enable their repeal efforts to circumvent a filibuster by their Democratic colleagues and would receive the signature of President-elect Donald Trump once he is in office.

While Republicans are moving swiftly to repeal the health care law, their Democratic colleagues have blasted their decision to uproot the ACA without providing a viable replacement. Twenty million Americans who currently receive coverage through the ACA could potentially lose their benefits unless a new health care architecture is put in place.

"We've had six years of opportunities to work together on a bipartisan basis to improve or change the Affordable Care Act," Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told CNN. "They have never, ever, accepted an invitation for that. Their approach is: repeal it, and once you've repealed it, then we'll think of something new. That's not a responsible approach."

On Jan. 8, President Barack Obama stated that he would be content if GOP lawmakers choose to overhaul the ACA as long as its mission to broaden health care coverage remains intact.

"If in fact the Republicans make some modifications, some of which I may have been seeking previously, but they wouldn't cooperate because they didn't want to -- make the system work, and relabel it as Trumpcare, I'm fine with that," Obama told ABC News.

The outgoing president added that he was skeptical that Republicans could provide a viable alternative to the ACA now after already having seven years to produce another plan. In Obama's view, Republicans risk harming the lives of millions of Americans in an effort to spite him.

"It is true theoretically that all that progress can be undone, and suddenly 20 million people or more don't have health insurance," Obama said. "I think Republicans are now recognizing that's -- may not be what the American people, including Trump voters, are looking for. Don't undo things just because I did them."

Sources: ABC News, CBS NewsCNN, Fox News / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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