The process of dismantling the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, has commenced as the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted 227-198 to approve a measure to repeal the landmark health insurance law. (For more, see What If Obamacare Is Repealed?)
The measure did not get any votes from Democrats, and nine Republicans opposed it. The measure was approved in the Senate a day before.
While concerns loom that no alternative is readily available for a quick substitution, concerned committees have been instructed to plan legislation by a target date of January 27.
Republican Priority Program
Repealing Obamacare was a campaign promise and a top priority of the President-elect Donald Trump and of the Republican-majority Congress.
Being a part of the internal congressional budget process, the resolution does not need approval from the president. However, presidential approval will be required once the Obamacare repeal legislation is finalized, and by that time Trump would have assumed office. (For more, see How Obamacare Can Be Repealed.)
Challenges with Obamacare
The innovative Obamacare was introduced around seven years ago, with the aim to provide insurance coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions that were not covered under the then-existing rules.
However, the Republicans claimed the law was a complete failure on account of “high deductibles,” which took away any potential insurance benefits. (For more, see Obamacare: Steep Premium Hikes Expected in 2017.)
The replacement is expected to give more control to the states for the healthcare program, with stable health insurance premiums. However, Harvard University economist David Cutler fears that slowness in replacing Obamacare with an effective alternative may cause a problem in the U.S. insurance market, with the risk of a few insurers being put out of business.
The nonpartisan committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated repealing Obama's signature health insurance law entirely would cost roughly $350 billion over 10 years, reports Reuters.
The Republican-led House has voted more than 60 times to repeal the law during the past few years, but their attempts were futile as President Obama would have vetoed the repeal. With Trump set to resume office on January 20, the effort sailed through smoothly.
Trump hailed the development by tweeting that "The 'Unaffordable' Care Act will soon be history!"
Though he did not provide any specifics about the proposed substitution, he did mention, "It’s very much formulated down to the final strokes,” and "lower numbers, much lower deductibles" in a Sunday interview. (For more, see 7 Industries Benefiting From Obamacare.)