HELP Chairman: Replacing ACA Won’t Be Quick Because ‘We Spent Six Years As The Hatfields And The McCoys’
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander predicts it could take years. Meanwhile, the House Republicans and Vice President-elect Mike Pence settle on a plan for government funding and The Washington Post fact checks House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's statement on diseases.
Alexander Warns Drafting ACA Replacement Could Take Time, Bipartisan Consensus
Drafting a sustainable replacement to the Affordable Care Act could take years, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander warned Thursday. Alexander said replacing Obamacare could take longer than the education bill he worked to pass last year, which took six years. ... While Republicans will likely be able to repeal major parts of the 2010 health care law with a simple majority using a budget tool called reconciliation, Alexander said he expects passing a replacement would require 60 votes, meaning Senate Republicans would need at least eight Democrats to vote in favor of a replacement law. “Before the process is over, we’ll need a consensus,” he said. “I imagine this will take several years to completely make that sort of transition to make sure we do no harm, create a good health care system that everyone has access to, and that we repeal the parts of Obamacare that need to be repealed.” (McIntire, 11/17)
House GOP Settles on Path Forward for Government Funding, Obamacare Repeal
House Republicans and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Thursday agreed on a plan to punt the government funding debate into early next year and begin preparations to repeal Obamacare. ... Lawmakers also discussed passing two budget resolutions next year, which would enable them to use the reconciliation process twice to undo some of President Barack Obama’s signature policies. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Republicans aim to have instructions ready for the first round of budget reconciliation by Inauguration Day. Their first target, according to Meadows, is repealing the Affordable Care Act. (Reid, 11/17)
The Washington Post Fact Checker:
Are There Really 10,000 Diseases And Just 500 ‘Cures’?
“You know, there’s 10,000 diseases, and we only have 500 cures," [said] House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). McCarthy made this comment while arguing for the need to replace Obamacare during a Trump administration. The numbers seemed so perfect and round — 10,000 and 500 — that we decided they had to be checked out. (Kessler, 11/17)
In other news from Capitol Hill —
Cornyn: Congress Could Vote On Cures, Mental Health As One Package
It’s unlikely that a medical innovation measure or mental health legislation will move as standalone bills this year, but the measures could be voted on as one package, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said Wednesday. The Texas Republican said lawmakers are discussing combining the 21st Century Cures Act with a mental health care bill into one measure that the House and Senate could vote on before the end of the year. “I think if either one of them move, they’re going to move together,” Cornyn told reporters. (McIntire, 11/16)