Senate Republicans took the first steps towards dismantling Obamacare Tuesday afternoon, filing a budget resolution that puts the wheels in motion for “overhauling”, but in reality actually repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as we know it.
After Republicans met again on Wednesday to discuss the Affordable Care Act, Vice President-elect Mike Pence came out vowing to repeal the law.
“The first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that was our message today and that will be our message on Capitol Hill,” Pence told reporters after the meeting.
At the same time, Obama met with House Democrats to plot ways to slow the Republican drive and defend parts of his signature law. Republicans already control the House and Senate, and after Trump takes office later this month they’ll have the power to gut Obamacare.
Although repeal of the law is now almost a virtual certainty, it’s far from clear what will replace it. Republican leaders said they are exploring a variety of market-based options that would lower costs, give Americans more choice and reduce government’s role in the health care system.
Yet Republicans are expected to leave parts of the law in place as they work out a replacement. “We don’t want people to be caught with nothing,” said Paul Ryan, speaker of the House.
Democrats were skeptical. They contend the elimination of Obamacare will “make America sick again,” a twist on Trump’s campaign theme.
“They don’t have a replacement plan,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the leader of House Democrats. “To repeal and delay is an act of cowardice” that could jeopardize the health care of millions of Americans, especially seniors who receive Medicare.
Republicans argue that a more market-based approach will increase competition in the health-care market and lead to lower prices despite the fact that health-care costs in the U.S., already the highest in the industrial world because it is a “for profit” business.
The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010 and has since benefited millions of Americans needing access to affordable health insurance—including people living with HIV and other pre-existing conditions.
An estimated 20 million Americans are liable to lose their health insurance if the ACA is repealed.