January 6, 2017
President Obama is meeting with Democrats today to protect his healthcare law from Republican opposition. Senate Republicans are already taking steps to repeal Obamacare. As per NPR, on January 3 Republicans introduced a budget resolution that would basically let them undo the Affordable Care Act with a “simple majority vote”.
Democrats want to defend the law, as it has given health care insurance to 20 million Americans. Repealing it would effectively strip them of their health protection. Plus, Republicans haven’t figured out how to replace Obamacare yet.
Obama’s administration has criticized this “repeal now and replace later” strategy. Whitehouse spokesman Josh Earnest calls it a “bait and switch”. The American Medical Association (AMA) is also against the move to repeal Obamacare. In an open letter directed at lawmakers, the association acknowledged that Obamacare isn’t perfect. However, the letter also stated that “any effort to cut costs or increase choice should as least preserve the existing level of coverage”. AMA CEO James L. Madara stated that “before any action is taken through reconciliation or other means that would potentially alter coverage, policymakers should lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies”.
What is Reconciliation?
Reconciliation is a procedural tactic that would allow Senate Republicans to change parts of the Affordable Care Act without the threat of a Democratic filibuster.
Support for the Measure
President Obama, Democrats, and the AMA aren’t the only ones who are against changing Obamacare. There are some Republican senators who are wary about taking away healthcare from people without a new health care plan in place.
However, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and President-elect Donald Trump remain committed to the measure. Ryan called the budget resolution “the first step towards relief for Americans struggling under Obamacare”. In a tweet, the President-elect stated that “People must remember Obamacare just doesn’t work, and it is not affordable”.
Trump pointed to increased premiums from the government-run exchange in Arizona to support his statement that it’s not affordable. However, government subsidies help negate some or all of those increases. The Obama administration also says that customers have been signing up for the exchange at a record rate.
To learn more about this story, visit NPR.com.
Story source: NPR
Featured image source: Wikipedia