Repealing Obamacare Will Top Senate Agenda in January

Republican leaders say “step-by-step” process could take several years

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Kentucky) has announced that repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will be the Senate’s first order of business in January. Republicans will replace the PPACA “step by step,” according to Senator John Thune, another member of the Republican leadership.

McConnell did not say when the repeal of the PPACA would go into effect. Senator John Barrasso said it might be effective in two or three years, and that the timeframe was still being debated.

Republicans will control the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives in 2017. The new Congress opens on January 3, and Donald Trump will be sworn in on January 20.

Since the PPACA was passed in 2010, Republicans have launched repeated legal and legislative efforts to dismantle the act, which they call a government overreach.

Large national insurers, including Aetna, UnitedHealth Group, and Anthem, have said they are losing money on the exchanges because patient costs are higher than anticipated and enrollment is lower than forecast. Both UnitedHealth and Aetna have pulled out of the exchanges for 2017.

To repeal the PPACA, congressional Republicans are expected to use a special procedure known as budget reconciliation to bypass Democratic opposition in the Senate.

Source: Reuters; December 6, 2016.