Making good on Republicans’ promise to quickly take on the Affordable Care Act, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee introduced a resolution on Tuesday that paves the way for dismantling the healthcare law.
The resolution (PDF), filed by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., includes instructions for key House and Senate committees to repeal major provisions of the law through the budget reconciliation process. The intent of this fast-track process, which requires only a simple majority in the Senate, is to send ACA repeal legislation “to the new president’s desk as soon as possible,” Enzi said in a statement.
The resolution also calls on the four committees to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1 billion over the next 10 years, and it reserves the funds needed to accommodate repealing and replacing the ACA. It asks the committees to submit their recommendations to their respective chambers’ budget committees by Jan. 27.
House Speaker Paul Ryan was quick to praise Enzi’s resolution, saying it sets the stage for a repeal of the ACA “followed by a stable transition to a better healthcare system.”
President-elect Donald Trump also weighed in on the topic of healthcare reform, tweeting criticism of the ACA:
People must remember that ObamaCare just doesn't work, and it is not affordable - 116% increases (Arizona). Bill Clinton called it "CRAZY"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
Yet in a short speech before Ryan addressed the 115th Congress on Tuesday, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated her party’s plans to fight repeal efforts. If Republicans try to roll back Medicare or the ACA, she said, “Democrats will stand our ground.”
The GOP’s plan to use the reconciliation process to roll back sections of the ACA linked directly to the budget will likely follow the blueprint it created in 2015 through a measure that President Barack Obama vetoed, FierceHealthPayer has reported. That strategy may not work as quickly as Republicans hope, however; a report (PDF) published last February from the Congressional Research Service points out that completing the budget reconciliation process takes an average of five months.