On Monday, two Senate Republicans said that U.S. states should be allowed to stay in the Obamacare medical-insurance program if they choose to.
Donald Trump and congressional Republicans made campaign promises to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and since the new session of Congress started and Trump became president, they have been working to make good on those promises.
According to a report by Reuters, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) proposed letting states choose to keep Obamacare or move forward with a replacement program, for which states would receive funding.
Cassidy, who is himself a doctor, said that this approach could help attract the Democratic votes that will be needed to push through the eventual replacement of Obamacare.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) denounced the idea as an “empty facade” and a “far cry” from a full replacement of Obamacare.
While Democrats have been strongly opposed to a repeal of Obamacare, Reuters reports that after meeting with congressional leaders and President Trump Monday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats were willing to discuss Republican health care proposals if they accomplish the same goals.
“Well, we talked about the Affordable Care Act, and said, what the Affordable Care Act has been successful in doing is improving quality, expanding access and lowering costs,” Pelosi sad. “And any proposal that they might have that does that—we’d be interested in hearing about.”
Trump signed an executive order Friday within hours of taking office that directs U.S. agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay implementation” of provisions of Obamacare that are deemed to impose fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals.
At a GOP news conference Monday, Collins called Trump’s order “very confusing” and said that whatever actions the Trump administration takes, legislation will be needed to replace the law.
“We don’t really know what the impact will be,” Collins said. She added that it will be difficult to assess the order’s impact until the new Cabinet secretary in charge of health is in place.
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, has said that there is no plan for “pulling the rug out” from under millions of Americans’ health care as a replacement is designed. Reuters reports that any changes are unlikely to affect the government-funded or -subsidized insurance plans covering more than 20 million people in 2017.
Read more at Reuters.