Congressional Republicans are preparing to undo president Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law aka Obamacare the fastest way possible. They are already eyeing a new health secretary days after Donald Trump won the elections.
After Nov. 8, Republicans won the White House, the Senate, and the House. Nevertheless, GOP expects Democrats not to give up the fight easily. So far, Obamacare provides health coverage to 25 million previously-uninsured Americans. So, dismantling the law will leave millions in limbo.
However, Republicans have been trying to repeal the healthcare law for six years because they say it is an overreach of the federal government.
GOP to Confirm HHS Secretary on Jan. 20
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso (R) thinks a new secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be the quickest way to repeal the law. The official could rewrite the rules that enforce the law as soon as Obama leaves office.
Barrasso told journalists his party may “confirm” a health secretary on Jan. 20. The official could “rewrite the rules” to provide states, businesses and workers with more freedom and choice, the Wyoming Senator said.
He added that the Senate can now confirm a Cabinet position with just a simple majority vote instead of a 60-vote. Sixty votes usually prevent Democrats from creating a filibuster. Barrasso explained the repeal of Obamacare would not be a ‘Day One’ activity, but naming a HHS secretary would be.
President-elect Donald Trump has blasted Obamacare several times during the presidential campaign. He once described it as a “big, fat, horrible lie” and a “disaster.” So, he vowed to undo it and replace it with other proposals such as health savings accounts.
On his transition website, he pledges to return the power of regulating health insurance to the states.
However, experts say that congressional GOP members would need to resort to reconciliation to get the repeal legislation past the Senate where Democrats’ rights as a minority are protected.
In January, the Tea Party used the special procedure against Obamacare but Obama vetoed the changes. The new legislation would have removed tax subsidies for good and tax penalties on people who refuse to get insurance. Additionally, Republicans wanted to block the expansion of Medicaid.
Some Provisions May Stay
New York Representative Chris Collins (R) is confident that GOP will gut the law within the first 100 days of Trump presidency. The president-elect made a similar promise earlier this year. However, Collins acknowledged Republicans will phase out the legislation gradually.
He pledged the changes won’t impact anyone’s health insurance plans over the next year. Barrasso too said GOP would do changes in a “step-by-step fashion.” Also, Trump pledged some provisions of the law would stay. For instance, Trump will allow kids to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until the age of 26. Also, insurers will not be allowed to deny coverage to patients with “pre-existing” conditions.
Barrasso added the new HHS secretary could rewrite regulations to benefit the states. Under the new rules, state legislatures would be the ones to decide on the individual mandate to get insurance.
Image Source: Flickr