As the U.S. Congress gears up to pass a new budget resolution later in the week, president-elect Donald Trump has offered up some new direction as to how his administration plans to “repeal and replace” the disastrous healthcare law commonly known as Obamacare.
In his first press conference since being elected president, Trump announced plans to simultaneously enact both the “repeal” and “replace” aspects of his popular campaign slogan as quickly as possible, and as soon as his pick for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) is officially confirmed.
Along with many of his allies in Congress, Trump is eager to “get to business” on forging a new healthcare path for Americans that will provide things like private health savings accounts that people can use to build their own insurance coverage, as opposed to being forced to sign up for a government plan or else face fines.
Once Trump chooses his HHS secretary, he hopes that legislators will have a plan in place right away to deconstruct Obamacare, while also offering a smooth transition for those who are currently enrolled under it to choose another option.
“It will be essentially simultaneous,” Trump told an eager press pool. “It will be various segments, you understand, but will mostly likely be on the same day or the same week but probably the same day. Could be the same hour. We’re going to do repeal and replace. Very complicated stuff.”
Trump, Ryan work together to repeal and replace Obamacare quickly and concurrently
Some GOP leaders have been reluctant to embark on such a rapid change, emphasizing that a task of this enormity could take months or even years to get right. Their initial plan was to immediately pass legislation to repeal Obamacare, but with a provision for a lengthy phase-out time in which a replacement could be carefully devised.
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But at the discretion of the president-elect, it appears as though a much more rapid transition could be in the works. Trump’s business prowess combined with his desire to accomplish as much as he possibly can, as quickly as he can, seems to be steering the ship full-speed ahead.
“Our goal is to bring it all together concurrently,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters on Tuesday. Though oftentimes at odds with Trump throughout the election cycle, Ryan is now working closely with the president-elect to fulfill Trump’s “repeal and replace” campaign promise as thoroughly and quickly as possible.
“We’re going to use every tool at our disposal through legislation, through regulation, to bring replace concurrent along with repeal so that we can save people from this mess,” Ryan told reporters.
Obamacare to be repealed by February
Both the House and the Senate are working on their respective proposals to accomplish this extensive task, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas confirmed during a recent interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” that a repeal bill “is slated to be on the president’s desk in February.”
“That’s the timetable we’re working under,” Brady is quoted as saying by ABC News.
House conservatives have indicated that they would rather not vote on a budget measure until they know a little bit more about what a comprehensive “repeal and replace” plans looks like. More details are expected to emerge soon, as the House was scheduled to vote on the budget bill on Friday.
“Obamacare is a complete and total disaster,” the president-elect stated during his press conference. “You have deductibles so high that when people go broke from paying their premiums, they can’t even pay the deductibles. We’re going to take the Obamacare problem off the shelves … We’re going to have healthcare that is far less expensive and far better.”