The new Congress began work on Tuesday by preparing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The first step in the process was the creation of a budget resolution with instructions that will allow Congress to force the repeal with a simple majority vote. According to the Wall Street Journal, the resolution could be passed as soon as next week.
Despite the urgency of the resolution, an Obamacare repeal is not guaranteed. If 24 House members and four Senators object to the legislation, it will stall. In addition, Congress would have to decide when the repeal would take effect. There is talk among some Republican leaders to delay the repeal for at least three years or until after the 2020 election. This would allow Congress to come up with a replacement plan rather than just taking health insurance away from 22 million people.
Currently, there is no clear path to replace the Affordable Care Act. Republicans are considering leaner health plans that would be more catastrophic than comprehensive. This approach would be the equivalent of no insurance for some Americans, which would bring outrage and strong opposition before a vote takes place.
While a complete repeal may not happen, Democrats and supporters of Obamacare are apprehensive as the beginning of a Trump presidency draws closer.