Drew Angerer/Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump is pushing Republicans to move forward their timetable to repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.
According to a report from the New York Times, Trump told the Times’ on Tuesday that he wants the ACA immediately repealed and replaced, calling the law a “catastrophic event.”
Trump appeared to be pushing back at Republicans who have in recent days suggested delaying a repeal until a full replacement plan is developed. It also flies in the face of a plan by GOP lawmakers to pass a bill that would nominally repeal the bill while delaying actual implementation of the repeal anywhere from two to four years to build a replacement.
According to the Times report, Trump said he wants Obamacare repealed “probably sometime next week” and a replacement to be introduced “very quickly or simultaneously.”
This is a massive undertaking given the complexity of the ACA.
Trump told the New York Times that “long would be weeks” and he does not favor a repeal and delay strategy that would extend rolling back the ACA by years.
A bill is currently in front of Senate committee that would repeal a bulk of Obamacare using the budget reconciliation process and has a deadline for January 27 to bring a full repeal bill to the Senate.
There has been some cooling on the immediate repeal of the ACA, however. Five GOP Senators proposed an amendment to the bill on Monday night to extend this deadline to March 3 in order to give lawmakers more time to come to an agreement on a replacement bill.
The leader of the amendment, Sen. Bob Corker, said the delay was to ensure a replacement can be found to ensure that the more than 23 million people who have gained access to health insurance through the ACA do not see a disruption in their coverage.
“By extending the deadline for budget reconciliation instructions until March, Congress and the incoming administration will each have additional time to get the policy right,” Corker said in a statement on Monday night.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a press conference on Tuesday that Republican leaders wanted to repeal and replace the ACA “concurrently.” Ryan said that Republicans have a plan to replace the law — most likely referring to his “better Way” healthcare proposal — but there has been no specific bill advanced by GOP leadership to this point.
Additionally, a number of GOP Senators including Rand Paul, John McCain, and Tom Cotton have all expressed a desire to wait until a full replacement plan is ready to go before repealing the law.
In addition to lighting a fire under Republicans, Trump told the Times that he was taking on Democrats as well. Democrats have said that would not assist Republicans on any replacement or repeal of Obamacare, saying any such plan would “Make America Sick Again.”
Trump noted to the Times that Democrats have a number of Senators up for re-election in 2018 in states carried by the president-elect in November. Trump warned that he would “be out there campaigning” in those states, thus those Democrats should assist with the new healthcare bill.