The Republican process of repealing Obamacare will begin this week when the new Congress convenes.
According to an AP article, the problems the Republicans face from the constituents wanting a better alternative can be summed up by what GOP Congressman Pat Tiberi, chairman of a pivotal health subcommittee said he heard during a recent conversation with a constituent who told him, ‘Now you guys own it. Now fix it. It’s on your watch now. Tiberi said, “And this is a supporter.”
Republicans unanimously oppose Obamacare since Democrats pushed it through Congress in 2010. They have attempted many times to get rid of it but failed due to internal divisions and Obama’s veto power.
Now the Republicans control Congress and with Donald Trump in the White House on Jan. 20, their desire and process to repeal and replace Obamacare will begin this week.
To repeal Obamacare, the GOP would have to eliminate existing programs that presently provide coverage to 20 million Americans. That process, combined with the continuing Republican rifts over how to reshape the law, pay for the replacement and avoid destabilizing health insurance markets, makes for a rough ride for the Republican lawmakers.
Republican in-fighting over how to replace the program and finance it, while making sure they don’t throw a monkey wrench into the present health insurance markets, will be a major challenge.
The new Congress convenes Tuesday and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said, “His chamber will begin debating a bare bones budget for next year. Most significantly, that would trigger a procedure enabling Republicans to repeal much of Obama’s law by a simple Senate majority.”
The article states, “GOP senators will only have a 52-48 edge. The debate will also be a way for Republicans to signal quickly to voters that they’re starting to erase the law, even as they save actually doing it for later.”
The article continues with, “The legislation is likely to erase the mandate that people buy insurance or face hefty IRS fines, which Republicans despise. Also facing elimination or reductions: taxes Obama imposed on upper-income people to finance the law, subsidies that help millions afford health care and the expansion of Medicaid health coverage to more lower-earning people. Federal aid to Planned Parenthood would be halted, reflecting GOP opposition to the right to abortion, one of the women’s health services provided by the organization.”
“Some of the 20 million people now covered may lose their benefits because of reducing Medicaid coverage and dropping the requirement that individuals buy insurance,” according to AP.
House GOP aides said, “The goal is “universal access” to health benefits, as opposed to aiming for coverage of all Americans. They said Obama’s law ended up with many policies that are too expensive and offer limited access to doctors, but the shift in focus to “access” suggests Republicans don’t want to be measured by the number of people actually covered.”
Minority leader, Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said repealing Obama’s law without a replacement would mean “huge calamity from one end of America to the other.”
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, called claims that 20 million people would lose coverage a “big lie.” He said, “Republicans will provide “an adequate transition period to give people piece of mind.”
Trump proposed tax breaks to help people afford health insurance and proposed a process that involves allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines. Trump also wants to free states so they can decide how to spend Medicaid dollars.
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