Obamacare the plan to repeal and replacing the law is long on idea’s short on details
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) says that a real plan on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare will come after a 10-day U.S. House of Representatives recess that begins on Friday. The details are not yet set because of some Republican infighting.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump administration is taking steps on its own to loosen government regulation of the nation’s health insurance markets, a longtime conservative goal.
Administration officials said the moves — which were detailed in proposed regulations released Wednesday — are necessary to stabilize Obamacare marketplaces that have been shaken over the last year by rising premiums and insurer exits.
Trump administration’s moves to relax rules on insurers appear likely to shift additional medical costs onto patients by promoting higher-deductible health plans.
The proposed regulations also set the stage for potential reductions in government aid to low- and moderate-income consumers, another policy favored by GOP leaders, including Trump’s new Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, a fierce advocate for reduced federal healthcare spending.
Meanwhile over on Capitol Hill, despite, controlling the House, the Senate and the White House the Republicans, have been struggling to come up with a detailed plan for replacing former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy that they have vowed to repeal.
“After the House returns following the Presidents Day break, we intend to introduce legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Ryan said at his weekly press conference. Presidents Day is on Monday and the House returns on Feb. 27.
Ryan spoke shortly after many House Republicans huddled in a closed session with newly-installed U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Price to discuss Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act and their options to change it.
The Congressional meeting turned into part pep talk and part laying out of talking points that can be delivered to constituents during the recess.
Lawmakers left the meeting saying there was plenty more work ahead on thorny issues, including squeezing savings from the Medicaid health plan for the elderly and disabled and possibly cutting some healthcare tax credits.
The other problem that the House has is that President Donald Trump’s administration see’s the replacement of Obamacare differently than does the Congress.
Hoping to calm the voting public, newly confirmed House and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who served in the House before becoming HHS secretary, told Republican lawmakers that on Obamacare repeal, “The president is all in on this, let’s go shoulder to shoulder, arm to arm,” according to a source who attended the meeting.
But they do not know yet what exactly they will be joining forces on.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters there are “a range of options” for giving states more say over the operation of Medicaid, which has become an important tool for delivering medical coverage under Obamacare.
Brady said there were also various options for ways to offset the costs of a Republican plan, such as capping the tax exclusion for employer-based healthcare plans.
Nevertheless, Brady said that going in to the recess, “I think we succeeded in giving our members a very in-depth view of what the replacement parts will be and a very in-depth range of options for how to achieve it.”
Some quotes in this story came from both Reuters and ASSOCIATED PRESS. The video came from Newsy.