When Donald Trump enters the Presidency next January, the Republican Party’s first order of business will be to work towards repealing (not replacing as was initially stated) Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This process, however, will be a difficult one because the Party’s faced with some complications; how and when to start the repeal, the millions of people who use the ACA, the changes Medicaid and many other industries will go through, and bringing the party together under Donald Trump. The overall plan will be to attack this situation step-by-step, but will undoubtedly take a lot of work to accomplish.
Why It’s A Messy Situation
Trump stated that his first order of business was to fully repeal and replace the ACA, but many Republicans believe this process won’t happen overnight. Repealing is one thing, but completely replacing the ACA is another. Before anything can be done, Republicans first need to agree on when to start the repealing process. Some Republicans want to work towards replacing the ACA in two years. Some, however, believe we need to wait at least three years.
Additionally, there’s the issue of how to tackle the issue. There are four proposals on the table; the “Better Way” paper, legislation from GOP Representative Tom Price, Trump’s nominee to lead the Health and Human Services, and a proposal from GOP Senators Richard Burr, Tom Coburn, and Orrin Hatch.
Regardless of what the Republican Party decides on, a delay is inevitable. Repealing will be a process because 20 – 25 million Americans are covered by the ACA. When this seven-year plan is gone, these Americans will have to find alternative health insurance options. If millions of Americans are left with no health coverage then this will result in some serious disruptions in the healthcare industry, a destabilized insurance market, and some very unhappy patients. Larry Levitt, the Senior Vice President at the Kaiser Family Foundation, added, “It took Democrats decades to get a health reform plan passed and Republicans are now on the clock with much less time to figure this all out.”
Furthermore, Medicaid will go through some dramatic changes; they’ll receive less federal funding and higher costs for those that are covered by the program. Republicans need to figure out how much federal funding states will need.
Additionally, the pharmaceutical industry, insurers, hospitals, etc., will also be affected by this change. The insurance market is jittery as it is and health care providers are already losing money because patient costs are higher than anticipated, so enrollment is lower. Therefore, every development is being closely monitored by these industry professionals.
Finally, Donald Trump has made some remarks that he can’t deliver on, which has resulted in more confusion. Some of these remarks include:
- “I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what’s happened with drug prices”
- This remark is sure to make waves in the pharmaceutical industry.
- “…we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.”
- Some Republicans are worried about how unpredictable Trump really is…
Members of the Democratic Party refuse to help the Republicans replace the ACA, stating that the Republicans don’t have anything to replace Obamacare with. Incoming Senate Democratic Leader, Chuck Schumer, said, “We’re certainly not going to be part of this idea of repeal and put nothing in place.”
To work around this complication, Republicans plan to resort to a budget reconciliation bill (a fast-track process that can pass with just a simple majority in the Senate). However, this doesn’t completely alleviate the conflict and having to work around the Democrats will create problems for the Republican Party.
Even with all the control, they have in the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, Republicans will be met with serious obstacles when repealing Obamacare. They’ll need to agree on a plan of execution and timing before any repeal can begin. This will be difficult and tensions will definitely be high. This might divide the country and you know what they say, “United we stand, divided we fall.”