A Health Care Blueprint for a New President
The House and Senate sent an Obamacare repeal bill to the president’s desk last week.
Though the president vetoed the bill, the preparation done in the process provides a blueprint for “repeal and replace” with a new president.
Republicans are working on replace plans that respond to what Americans say they want and need in their health care.
A bill on the president’s desk
Republicans promised the country that they would do everything they could to repeal President Obama’s unworkable, unaffordable, and unpopular health care law. Last week, Congress sent the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, H.R. 3762, to the president’s desk. The bill, repealing the main parts of Obamacare, passed the Senate on December 3 by a vote of 52-47 and the House on January 6 by a vote of 240-181. The president chose not to respond to Americans’ cries that their plans had been canceled, premiums were higher, and rising deductibles were making it impossible to afford care. Instead, the president protected his namesake bill and vetoed H.R. 3762.
This was no surprise. The president and his allies have responded to protests from Americans across the country by telling them Obamacare was good for them. H.R. 3762 is still a victory. The bill laid the groundwork for when we have a president who will listen to the will of the people: they do not like or want Obamacare.
A path forward
The key to undoing the damage Obamacare caused is to send a repeal bill to a new president next year, following the same procedures Congress just successfully tested.
After years of Democrats preventing Obamacare repeal bills from making it to the president’s desk, Republicans have found a way to navigate the roadblocks by using budget reconciliation. Over the past few months, Congress accomplished every step except for the president’s signature. Both chambers passed a joint budget with reconciliation instructions. The House and Senate went through the nearly 1,000-page bill, provision by provision, to determine what could be included in reconciliation and what could not, based on budget rules. Then the House and Senate passed the reconciliation bill. Now Congress need only repeat those steps after America has chosen a new president.
“[T]he vote proved that a Republican congressional majority could deliver a measure that repeals the health law to a Republican president, even in the face of united opposition from Democrats. It also shows that nearly six years after its enactment, the law remains a divisive political issue not only because it is associated with Mr. Obama, but also because for much of the middle class, it is at least perceived as costly and lessening consumer choice, polls show.” – Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times, January 7, 2016
Replace the failed law
In addition to repealing Obamacare, Republicans will enact solutions to fix the damage done by Obamacare and repair America’s broken health care system. Democrats like to say that Republicans don’t have a plan. That’s not true. Republicans have put forward several replace plans and will spend 2016 talking with Americans about which one works best for them, or which pieces of the various plans to include in a final bill.
The Republican replace plan will empower patients to make decisions about their health care by giving them tools, information, and choices. It will provide practical consumer protections to help people who have pre-existing conditions. It will save and strengthen the Medicare program. It will reform our broken Medicaid system by giving states more flexibility to provide the best coverage for their citizens. And it will put patients – not Washington – first.
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