With Republican leadership charging ahead despite growing concerns about a hasty repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a group of GOP senators has introduced a measure intended to draw out the repeal process.
The amendment, introduced by Republican Sens. Bob Corker, Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Bill Cassidy and Lisa Murkowski, would extend the deadline for congressional committees to write an ACA repeal bill from Jan. 27 to March 3.
President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t officially indicated a position on a repeal timeline, but top Trump aide Reince Priebus and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have both indicated that he would support a simultaneous repeal and replacement, FierceHealthPayer has reported.
Citing Trump’s leanings, the five senators argue that their amendment will give the both the incoming administration and Congress more time to “create a stable transition to an open healthcare marketplace that provides far greater choice and more affordable plans for the American people.”
They aren’t the only conservatives calling for caution in the ACA repeal process, either. Lacking more specifics on a replacement timeline and reconciliation instructions, the House Freedom Caucus would be “inclined to encourage a delay” on voting on the Senate’s fast-track repeal resolution when it reaches the House floor, Chairman Mark Meadows told Politico.
But while it is possible that some elements of a replacement plan could be included in an ACA repeal bill, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said that a simultaneous repeal and replacement isn’t likely, according to The Hill.
“I think we would all like that to be the case but, like I said, it's more aspirational,” he said, noting there are numerous practical challenges to doing so.
Democrats, meanwhile, amped up their opposition to repealing the healthcare law in a “talk-a-thon” on the Senate floor Monday night. They even went as far as to request cots to give weary members a place to rest, CQ Roll Call reports.