Pence and Obama “Face Off” on Obamacare

With only a few weeks left in office, President Obama met with Democrats in the Senate and Congress to urge them to stand steadfast against any GOP effort to repeal Obamacare.

When Obama heads to Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning he will do so to rally against the dismantling of his legacy, Obamacare.

In the meantime, Vice President-elect Mike Pence will also meet with House and Senate Republicans in separate meetings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Beginning January 20th, Republicans will control both houses of Congress.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters Tuesday, “When Mike Pence comes back to the conference, people get very excited because he was the conference chair, a lot of members had served with him. I think you’re going to find this Vice President very active in the House and the Senate.”

The two simultaneously occurring meetings of Pence and Obama with their respective audiences is just the beginning of what may be the biggest political and policy battles for President-elect Donald Trump during his first 100 days in office.

Trump vowed to repeal Obamacare during his campaign while keeping its most popular provisions, but the GOP has its own issues to deal with concerning the repeal of Obamacare. Republicans have admitted it could take years to develop and pass a replacement program.

Obama and friends will undoubtedly focus on the dilemma Republicans face in repealing a program that presently provides health insurance to an estimated 20 million Americans, many of whom don’t receive coverage from their employers or struggle to afford insurance.

According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Obama is deeply concerned about that. “He’s also concerned about this Republican tactic of repeal-and-delay that ultimately is nothing more than just bait-and-switch.”

Earnest said, “Leaving the future of the program in a state of limbo is not a responsible way to govern and it’s certainly not an indication you’re looking out for the working people of this country.”

President Obama will also argue that Medicare could be put in danger by repealing the law, which extended the life of the program’s trust fund for another 13 years.

“If Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act, they’ll be hastening the demise of Medicare that millions of seniors rely upon for their basic healthcare needs,” states Earnest.

Obamacare was paid for by means of cutting Medicare payments to doctors and increasing taxes. Those cuts and taxes also help improve Medicare’s long-term financial situation, so repealing Obamacare is projected to hasten the insolvency of Medicare’s trust fund.

Obama plans to do a live-streamed interview with the left-wing news website, Vox, so he can appeal to the public.

Republicans are moving as quickly as they can to appeal Obamacare. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced a budget resolution on Tuesday, which will be the first step to repealing Obamacare.

“That budget sets in motion a special process called reconciliation, which allows repeal to pass with just 50 votes in the Senate, rather than the usual 60, meaning Republicans do not need Democratic votes, and the budget instructs congressional committees to come up with a repeal bill by Jan. 27th.”

Another important decision that needs to be discussed and implemented by the Republicans is how long they should delay repeal going into effect. Republicans have considered a three or even four-year delay, but House conservatives want a faster implementation, with not longer than a two-year delay.

Also, the Republicans still need to develop a detailed replacement plan. The delayed repeal option would allow them time to work on the replacement, but some Republicans want a replacement to happen at the same time as repeal.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) became the latest Republican to call for simultaneous repeal and replace.

In a pushback to the Republican moves, Congressional Democrats are organizing rallies against repeal around the country for Jan. 15th.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) told reporters that it will be hard for Republicans to take health coverage away from people who have gained it under the law.

Pelosi said, “There’s no question that people react more from fear of what might be taken away then they do for something that is a prospect of a good thing coming their way.”

 

H/T: The Hill

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