In Washington on Thursday, the Senate passed a measure to begin dismantling Pres. Obama’s Affordable Care Act. As Washington D.C. bureau reporter Geoff Bennett explains, Republicans are moving quickly to repeal Obamacare, even as they debate how and when to replace it.
At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Republicans moved a step closer to repealing the Affordable Care Act, a law they’ve railed against since the moment Pres. Obama signed it nearly seven years ago.
By a vote of 51 to 48, the Senate approved a budget measure that begins to roll back the law. Ahead of the vote, all Democrats could do is stage a protest.
“Imagine becoming pregnant and having your insurer drop your coverage because you no longer are economic, or you cost too much money,” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said. “Imagine being a cancer survivor and then having your coverage dropped because you’ve survived cancer.”
“Up to 30 million Americans will lose their healthcare, with many thousands dying as a result,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said. “Because you have no health insurance and you can’t go to a doctor or a hospital, you die.”
On Capitol Hill, Republicans are united in wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but they’ve been divided over how and when to replace it.
The risk is that the estimated 20 million Americas, who the government says gained health coverage under Obamacare, could end up losing it.
During his press conference Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump said he wants Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act at roughly the same time.
“It will be essentially simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day — could be the same hour,” Trump said. “So we’re gonna do repeal and replace. Very complicated stuff.”
But House Speaker Paul Ryan isn’t offering a firm timeline on just when a final repeal bill would land on Trump’s desk.
“This will be a thoughtful, step-by-step process,” Ryan said. “We’re not going to swap one 2,700-page monstrosity for another.”
A signal that Republicans in Congress are aware of the political risks — and don’t yet have a clear vision of how to move forward.