Republican calls to repeal and/or replace Obamacare have always been met with the same question: What will replace it? With a Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress assuming power in 2017, GOP leadership is faced with the reality of Obamacare's repeal and finding a workable alternative.
“It will clearly take time,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, notes USA Today. “It took them about six years to stand up Obamacare. It’s not going to be replaced come next football season.”
“[C]learly there will be a transition and a bridge so that no one is left out in the cold, so that no one is worse off,” Ryan continued. “The purpose here is to bring relief to people who are suffering from Obamacare so that they can get something better.”
President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on the promise of repealing Obamacare, and called it “disaster,” notes NPR. "We have to repeal it and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive," Trump added during an October debate.
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However, on Nov. 11, Trump was already signaling that he would keep some core Obamacare provisions. Trump stated that he would consider keeping “the prohibition against insurers denying coverage because of patients’ existing conditions, and a provision that allows parents to provide years of additional coverage for children on their insurance policies,” notes The Washington Post.
To complicate the matter, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia, is a staunch opponent of Obamacare.
“Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration blatantly ignored the voices of the American people and rammed through a hyperpartisan piece of legislation that will have a disastrous effect on our nation’s health care system,” Price said in 2010 after the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) was signed into law, reports The New York Times.
Much more recently, he added, “Premiums have gone up, not down. Many Americans lost the health coverage they were told time and time again by the president that they could keep. Choices are fewer.”
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Trump, nor any of the GOP leadership, has offered a clear alternative to the current health care law, but at a Virginia rally in September, Trump suggested: “Our replacement plan includes expanded access to Healthcare Savings Accounts, with support for those who need it,” adding that insurance should be able to be purchased across state lines, notes The Washington Post.
According to USA Today, Speaker Ryan offered no alternatives himself when speaking on Dec. 5, but stated: “Obamacare is failing and failing quickly … there is nowhere to go but up with respect to Obamacare.”