This could take a while
The Affordable Care Act, the marquee legislative achievement of Obama’s presidency, has gotten it from all sides over the years. Even progressives, Obama’s biggest fans, have often voiced frustrations over the amount of power America’s largest healthcare corporations continue to wield in the marketplace. Their ability to step out of the alliance is their hammer, threatening to create groups of insurance monopolies all over the country.
In spite of the swarm of problems and criticism, the ACA is still strong enough to prove fairly perilous for the Republicans to dive in and dislodge. But, such is the state of play in Congress, where leading Republicans have pledged to go ahead and do what they’ve been promising to do: “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, told Reuters replacing the ACA will be the “first order of business” come January. CNN reported that he dove even further.
"Will there be challenges? Absolutely, yes. This has been a very, very controversial law,” McConnell said. We have an obligation to the American people to change it and to do a better job. And if we can get Democratic cooperation in doing that, that would be great."
Despite the Medicaid expansion under the ACA rolling out more smoothly than the mandate – insurance premiums have doubled in some places – the GOP still seek to gut a law that has helped millions of people gain insurance. Let us not forget that the ACA also stops insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions as well as keeps people on their parent's insurance until they’re 27.
In fact, some republicans are already panicking over the possible removal of the Medicaid expansion. But the GOP marches forward, now with a perceived mandate from voters, to repeal the health care law they have no earthly replacement for.
Even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says scrapping the ACA will be Republicans’ first order of business in the new year, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., cautioned that alternatives would only roll out “step by step,” and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo, added the further qualification that it could take up to three years to sort out the changes and that the final timetable is still being argued out. Since nobody wants to take the blame for worsening any lingering health care problems, this could take a while.