It looks like the Republicans will finally get their wish this year. With both houses of Congress and the Presidency, the Republicans are able to begin the process of repealing Obamacare.
Republican lawmakers have opposed the law since it was passed in 2010. Since then, they have fought to repeal all, or most of the law. Criticism of the law intensified again when Obamacare seemed to be on the verge of collapse. Until now, it seemed that repealing the law would be impossible.
Now, with Republican control of the government, it has become far more likely to happen. The question is: how? While Republicans agree that Obamacare should be repealed, there isn’t yet a consensus in Congress on how it should be done.
Efforts To Protect The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
President Obama has met with leaders in the Democratic party to develop strategies to help them protect the law. One of these strategies includes a campaign against Republicans that highlights their efforts at repealing Obamacare along with the possibility of overhauling Medicare and Medicaid.
On January 15th, Sen. Chuck Schumer, House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold a “day of action.” This event will be intended to build grassroots support for protecting Obamacare.
Repealing The Law
When it comes to repealing Obamacare, opinions in the Republican party are varied. There are several different approaches that Congress can take.
There are several different “schools of thought” that Republicans fall into. Some believe there should only be slight changes to the law. Others believe it should be scrapped entirely. Many Republicans fall somewhere in between.
The Replacements: Revise and Rebrand
The “Revise and Rebrand” Republicans believe that Obamacare should be stripped down. They have a more moderate view on how to deal with the law. They wish to gut the more unpopular areas of the law such as the individual mandate and regulations on insurers.
Some of the provisions that would be kept include:
- Protections for those with pre-existing health conditions.
- Financial assistance for low-income people.
- Adult children remaining on their parent’s health insurance until the age of 26.
It’s not yet clear if this approach would cover less people, but the Republicans believe Americans will prefer this type of law to the universal coverage that has been pushed by Democrats. This approach may also have the most support from the business community.
It’s possible that a large number of Republicans fall into this camp, but may not be as outspoken about it. There is a concern that they will be perceived as being too soft on the law. However, President-elect Donald Trump has already said that he would like to keep parts of the law, so this may embolden those who don’t want to remove Obamacare altogether.
The Budget Hawks: Repealing Obamacare Is Just The Beginning
This group of Republicans isn’t only concerned about repealing Obamacare; they wish to see a revamping of the government’s overall approach to healthcare.
This would include restructuring Medicaid and Medicare. Their main objective would be to see that individuals take on more of the responsibility and risk for their health care.
There are several prominent Republicans in this camp:
- House Speaker Paul Ryan
- Georgia Representative Tom Price
- Vice President-elect Mike Pence
During the campaign, Medicare and Medicaid were not a hot topic of conversation. The President-elect has said he wouldn’t cut Medicare, so there may be some conflict on this issue if the budget hawks gain more traction.
The Rewinders: Yeah…Let’s Just Pretend It Never Happened
A large number of Republican lawmakers want to completely remove Obamacare and move on. They don’t want a replacement. They don’t want any revisions. There is a lot of support for this among conservative lawmakers.
These members of congress believe that the federal government shouldn’t be involved in health care. Not only that, they agree with President-elect Trump when he describes the law as “a disaster.’
The fate of Obamacare is not yet known, but if the rumblings in the GOP are any indication, we can expect to see much discussion of the law in Congress. On Tuesday, the 115th Congress is expected to begin the process of dismantling Obamacare.