Since it was signed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act— also known as Obamacare — has remained among the hottest political topics. In the first four years the law was on the books, the GOP voted more than 50 times to attempt to change or repeal it. President-elect Donald Trump made repealing the law a central tenet of his campaign.
With Trump weeks from taking office, though, the actual plans for how his administration, along with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, is murky, as the complications with repealing and replacing such a massive piece of legislation begin to emerge.
This could take a while
The first steps in the Republican plan emerged Tuesday, as Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming introduced a bill to repeal the ACA. Republican lawmakers are already warning constituents that the process of repealing Obamacare could take months — and replacing it, years.
“Repeal is not going to be as simple as some people might have thought,” G. William Hoagland, a former Senate GOP budget official who is now senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told the Los Angeles Times.
“There are a number of Republicans, particularly in the Senate, who are going to be very nervous about voting to repeal something without knowing what this process may ultimately produce. … It could get a lot messier than people appreciate,” he added.
At least one prominent Republican senator is warning against repealing the law without immediately having a replacement. Rand Paul said that this strategy is a “huge mistake,” reports Politico.
Then there is the man of the hour himself, Donald Trump. While Trump has been steadfast that he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, he hasn’t exactly been making it a main talking point during his transition. He even seemed to indicate on Twitter today that he might be willing to let the system collapse naturally:
Trump has also indicated, though, that he may try to start rolling back Obamacare even before the Congressional bill lands on his desk, which is expected on Feb. 20. He hasn’t given specifics of what executive orders he plans to sign, only that he might start using executive action to change the law as soon as he takes office.