After Two-Day Retreat, GOP Decides Little on Obamacare Replacement

McConnell wants Congress to move quickly

After two days of meetings in Philadelphia, Republican lawmakers are still mulling the details of health-care reform, from how to repeal the taxes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to what parts of a replacement plan could be included in reconciliation legislation, according to an article posted on the Morning Consult website.

House members, at least, are anticipating a vote on a replacement plan in March.

Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees health care issues, said Republican lawmakers have “a good idea” of where they’re going, but said there were a number of moving pieces. For example, one bill under consideration will address the “death spiral” in the individual market, while Walden is working on his own bill that would affirm Republicans’ commitment to covering people with pre-existing conditions.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said no decisions were made during the two-day meeting, but that lawmakers had good conversations. He said a key debate was whether the PPACA’s tax issues will be addressed in a repeal bill or through tax reform, which GOP leaders say is coming later this year.

In related news, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said he wants Congress to wrap up work on replacing the PPACA soon so lawmakers can move on to President Trump’s other big priority: tax reform.

In an interview with The Hill, McConnell said he doesn’t want the debate over replacing Obamacare to drag on for months, expressing the same sense of urgency as President Trump, who has called for Congress to move “very quickly.”

Sources: Morning Consult; January 27, 2017; and The Hill; January 27, 2017.