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GOP's Timetable For Getting Repeal To Trump May Be Ambitious

By Kaiser Health News  
   December 14, 2016

Republicans and the incoming Trump administration seem to be coalescing around a strategy of "repeal and delay."

This article first appeared December 14, 2016 on Kaiser Health News.

By Julie Rovner

Republicans in Congress are so eager to repeal the federal health law that some have vowed to get a bill to President-elect Donald Trump's desk on the day he takes the oath of office.

"We will move right after the first of the year on an Obamacare repeal resolution," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters at a news conference Monday.

But could lawmakers introduce, pass and get a repeal measure to the new president in the 17 days between Jan. 3, when they convene, and Inauguration Day, Jan. 20?

Not likely, say budget experts.

"No way. I just don't think it's possible," said G. William Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank, and a 20-year Republican staff veteran of the Senate Budget Committee.

Others think it could be done, but probably won't be. "Mechanically they can get it done," said Ed Lorenzen, senior adviser to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "The bigger question is can they decide what should be in the package."

Republicans and the incoming Trump administration have been careful not to talk about exactly what they plan to do to the Affordable Care Act beyond repealing virtually all of its coverage expansions and the taxes that help fund them. But they seem to be coalescing around a strategy of "repeal and delay," in which they would pass a bill to kill many of the major provisions of law by a certain date, then set to work on crafting and passing a replacement before that date arrives.

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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