ACA top of mind at Republican retreat in Philadelphia; Donald Trump talks healthcare plans

The hotel, which consists of 99 suites, was developed and owned by SMG Plymouth Meeting.
Healthcare policy was a major focus on the first day of Republicans’ retreat in Philadelphia.

As Republicans’ retreat kicks off in Philadelphia, party leaders unveiled a timeline for when they want to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act while acknowledging they will miss their self-imposed deadline for doing so.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that he wants to pass a budget reconciliation bill by March or April that would dismantle key parts of the ACA, according to Politico. Coupled with that would be any administrative moves needed to stabilize the insurance market and replacement legislation.

That plan means Republicans will miss the Jan. 27 deadline included in the fast-track bills passed by the House and Senate recently, but the Wall Street Journal notes that there are no consequences for missing that deadline. To satisfy President Donald Trump, who has said he wants a near-simultaneous repeal and replacement, GOP lawmakers are slowing down the latter and speeding up the former, the article adds.

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Trump discussed his healthcare policy plans in an interview Wednesday with ABC News’ David Muir, doubling down on his assertion that he wants to “take care of everybody.”

RELATED: Trump's 'insurance for everybody' idea conflicts with GOP

Muir also asked him what he’d say to reassure Americans that they won’t lose their coverage or end up with “anything less,” and Trump responded: “Here’s what I can assure you—we are going to have a better plan, much better healthcare, much better service treatment, a plan where you can have access to the doctor that you want and the plan that you want.”

But some Republicans are uneasy about the fact that Trump has promised to deliver his own ACA replacement plan to Congress, according to another Politico article. “There’s no way that … whatever he sends up here just passes—we have a lot of members who are going to have input in it, and it will be shaped by members of Congress in the end,” said Rep. Jim Thune, R-S.D.

New healthcare bills crop up

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced his own version of healthcare reform Wednesday, called simply the “Obamacare Replacement Act.”

It would let consumers “choose inexpensive insurance free of government dictates”; save unlimited amounts in health savings accounts and have “wider options” for using those funds; buy insurance across state lines; and join together in “voluntary associations” to gain the leverage of being part of a large insurance pool.

Paul also took a dig at a competing replacement proposal from moderate Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, which would let states opt to keep the ACA exchanges if they choose. “’If you like Obamacare you can keep it' is not a ringing rallying cry,” Paul said, according to The Hill.

Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan introduced a likely doomed bill that would implement “comprehensive health insurance coverage for all United States residents” and “improved healthcare delivery.”

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