Trump Backs Simultaneous “Repeal and Replace” for Obamacare

Rand Paul, other senators agree

President-elect Donald Trump is increasing pressure on congressional Republicans to vote at the same time to both repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), according to the Wall Street Journal.

Trump, who backs simultaneously repealing and replacing the 2010 health care act, is finding allies in the Senate, where a half-dozen Republicans are worried about repealing the law without having a replacement plan ready.

“I believe we should vote on replacement the same day we vote on repeal,” Senator Rand Paul (R–Kentucky) said in a recent interview. Trump promptly called the senator “to say he agrees completely,” according to Paul.

Paul, a libertarian who ran unsuccessfully for president last year, has a replacement plan of his own, which includes some of the best ideas floated by Republicans in recent years, according to an article in the Fiscal Times. He hopes to have it ready for Trump’s consideration early this week.

Paul didn’t offer any details regarding what he would include in his health care bill. In a recent op-ed article, however, he wrote that the PPACA should be replaced with the freedom to choose inexpensive insurance free of government dictates. He also said he favors allowing unlimited savings in health savings accounts and letting major insurers sell policies across state lines––proposals that Trump has also endorsed.

The president-elect recently told reporters in New York that he is “not even a little bit worried” about how Republicans will replace the PPACA, and that in the end “everything will work out.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said that Congress would follow up Obamacare repeal legislation with a replacement program “very quickly,” but he declined to set a timetable.

In her farewell speech, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell remarked: “If the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a replacement, the damage to the country’s individual insurance market will begin this spring. If health insurance companies don’t know what the market will look like going forward, many will either raise prices or drop out. That means more Americans won’t be able to afford coverage, and others won’t be able to find it at all.”

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York announced that he and his members are preparing to delay Senate action on a budget reconciliation package to repeal key elements of Obamacare by offering scores of “poison pill” amendments late this week in a “Vote-a-Rama” that could last a day or more.

Sources: Wall Street Journal; January 9, 2017; and Fiscal Times; January 9, 2017.