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Repeal ‘Obamacare,’ but don’t hurt consumers, Pence says


    Vice President-elect Mike Pence, joins House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, following a closed-door meeting with the GOP caucus to discuss repeal of President Obama’s health care law now that the GOP is in charge of White House and Congress.

WASHINGTON >> Donald Trump’s “first order of business” as president will be to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” but Republicans must avoid hurting consumers as they do it, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said at the Capitol on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama visited Congress, too, 16 days before leaving the White House, championing his landmark overhaul before Democratic lawmakers and urging them to remind voters of how the statute has helped them.

“Look out for the American people,” Obama said as he left the meeting in response to shouted questions as to what he had told fellow Democrats.

“Keep up the fight,” Obama told them at a strategy meeting, according to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. “Tell the stories about the people who have benefited from it. The more you can get that message through, the better off we’re going to be.”

Pence spoke to reporters after an hour-long session with House Republicans. Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., said GOP leaders want to get legislation dismantling the health care law to Trump for his signature by Feb. 20.

“The first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Pence said, using the overhaul’s nickname. He said Americans “voted decisively for a better future for health care in this country, and we are determined to give them that.”

Pence said Trump’s team was already working with GOP congressional leaders on plans to undo Obama’s law with both legislation and executive action the president and federal agencies would be able to take.

Pence did not specify what those actions would be. But House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters they would involve “transition relief.” That phrase has been used to describe help for consumers and insurers while Obama’s law is being phased out and replaced with a GOP alternative, a process expected to take years.

Republicans are discussing delaying the timing for major provisions of the change to actually take effect, perhaps to 18 months or more. It is expected to take at least that long for GOP lawmakers to rally behind a plan.

Obama’s and Pence’s strategy sessions came on the second day of the new, GOP-led Congress. The Senate voted 51-48 Wednesday to begin debating a budget that, once approved, will prevent Democrats from using a filibuster to block future Republican legislation to scuttle the health care law.

Republicans control the Senate by 52-48, but it takes 60 votes to end a filibuster, a procedural roadblock that can kill legislation. The Senate was expected to complete the budget by next week, with House approval to follow.

Minutes before Obama and Pence met with lawmakers, Trump tweeted that voters are faulting Democrats for the health care law and its rising premiums, deductibles and other problems.

“Massive increases of ObamaCare will take place this year and Dems are to blame for the mess. It will fall of its own weight — be careful!” he wrote.

Pence told reporters that the president-elect was referring to the need to protect consumers during the transition period.

“Look, we’re talking about people’s lives, we’re talking about families,” Pence said.

Trump pledged during the presidential campaign to erase Obama’s law, though he’s now said he wants to retain popular provisions like ensuring coverage for people with pre-existing medical problems.

Plenty of questions remain, including the repeal bill’s details, costs and when it would take effect. Republicans also face divisions over potential replacement legislation.

The budget legislation gives congressional committees until Jan. 27 — a blink of an eye for lawmakers — to write legislation repealing major parts of the health care law. Likely targets include the law’s tax penalties for people who don’t obtain insurance, its requirement that many companies cover workers and its tax increases on higher-earning individuals and many health care firms.

Aware they have no chance of quickly agreeing on replacement legislation, Republicans plan to delay when their repeal would actually take effect. A range of 18 months to three years — perhaps longer — has been under discussion.

Trump has provided few specifics about how he would revamp the nation’s $3 trillion-a-year health care system. Steps he and congressional Republicans have mentioned include greater reliance on tax credits to help people afford coverage.

Republicans don’t want to abruptly end health care coverage for millions of voters who live in GOP-represented districts and states, or cause chaos in health care markets and prompt insurance companies to stop selling policies. So they are considering including provisions in their repeal bill to protect consumers and insurers during the transition period.

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  • The main thing is that if this is repealed that there is a plan for those who cannot otherwise obtain health-care insurance. At least the concept has registered in the minds of our congress.

      • Or reduce the litigation process, one of the reasons why health care cost is expensive….money hungry people suing anyone who have erred whether it was accident or unintentional.

        • Except that’s not true. Malpractice costs are one-third of one percent of total healthcare costs.

    • agree. Pence shows that even the vicious anti-American jackals called Republicans in Congress realize they will be voted out as early as 2 years from now if they openly attack programs that help Americans. Pence is wrong by the way: Obama Care has in fact insured millions of Americans who never could afford overpriced private policies. Hold on to your wallet: Republicans are out to hurt you and your family.

      • “Hold on to your wallets”? Millions had their health cost increase. They already lost their wallets thanks to the Democraps. Explain to everyone allie, why Health providers including our own Connecter bailed out of this Democratic scam and why Doctors across the country chose not to participate. “Republicans are out to hurt you and ypur family”? Democrats already have hurt millions and their families. “Republicans…voted out as early as 2 years”, Republican gains increase in 2 years, then leads to 2 more years of your whining.

  • Hmmmmm. GOP and Pence gonna turn it into single payer and call it a great win. Either that, or FINALLY heavily regulate the Insurers, the Pharmaceuticals, and the Doctors. OK boys. You won. Now what?

  • The biggest losers will be voting repugs from down south. The under educated overweights will be screaming at their repug reps,”what da ya mean, No health insurance”??All the while on the scooter and oxygen tanks,smoking a cigarette and slurping a Big Gulp. Oh yeah, Obamacare was covering yo azz.


      The Affordable Care Act already incorporates most of the market-based principles for health reform conservatives had long proposed, including tax penalties for those who fail to obtain insurance, subsidies, exchanges and other provisions.

      Vouchers or tax credits are now also on the table, but few think they will expand affordable care. Allowing folks to participate in the federally run Medicare program (government option) or even a single payer system could work, but Republicans won’t pass that.

      Setting up a workable, cost-effective health system is likely to elude Trump and the Republicans, hence their focus on the political strategy of “Repeal and Delay.” And when that no longer works, then try to Blame Democrats.


  • O’s legacy is just about to go K A P O O T…but it’s a good thing…because it’s the WORST piece of _______ ever passed in American history! O should THANK the GOP & PE Trump/VPE Pence.
    GOP will have to clean up O’s MESS!

    January 20th..16 days and counting. #MAGA

    • He should be embarrassed by the mess known as Obamacare. And now, with only days before being shown the exit he makes a rare appearance on the hill. Begging. Too little too late. I’m waiting for him to say the Russians hacked and raised the rates for premiums and deductibles .

    • You do have a point which just goes to show one should be cautious about backing a republican plan. Try as you want, there is no escaping the fact that Obama care has its roots in the Nixon administration. Democrats I think generally favor a single pay system, Would sure reduce America’s health care costs. But I would not be surprised if the Donald ends up proposing this.

    • That’s a good one. It’s exactly the type of propaganda that low information democrats are likely to believe and repeat. You don’t work for Sen. Schumer by any chance do you?

      If you like your White America plan you can keep your White America plan.

  • To my liberal friends posting here gushing & defending O…remember this from your mentor’s mentor Jonathan Gruber who was referring to you folks?

    At the University of Pennsylvania, October, 2013. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the ‘st_pidity of the American voter’ or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”

    Zero GOP voted for this st_pid law!

    January 20..#MAGA

  • Has Trump been compromised by Russia? Is he an unwitting Russian agent? Why is he hiding his tax returns? Why is he threatening to “restructure” the CIA?

    “SOME REPUBLICANS — including President-elect Donald Trump — appear to be entirely unconcerned about the strong evidence that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in order to create uncertainty in the presidential race, or tilt it toward Mr. Trump. Either that, or they are determined to bury the story of an unprecedented intrusion into American democracy by a hostile foreign power. There’s no other way to understand a new set of tweets by Mr. Trump, or the sandbagging by Republican leaders of proposals for a thorough investigation.” – Washington Post

  • Obama “urged fellow Democrats to not “rescue” Republicans by helping them pass replacement measures, according to sources in the room …
    He also floated this idea: Start referring to the GOP’s new plan as “Trumpcare.””
    In other words, Obama is okay with the repeal, BUT HE WANTS THE NEW VERSION TO FAIL. SA didn’t report it since they mostly report only good stuff about Obama.

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