GOP Vows Obamacare Repeal To Start 2017. Dems Dare Them. | The Huffington Post

GOP Vows Obamacare Repeal To Start 2017. Dems Dare Them. | The Huffington Post EDITION US عربي (Arabi) Australia Brasil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb México Québec (En Francais) South Africa United Kingdom United States NEWS Highline Science Education Weird News Business TestKitchen Tech College Media POLITICS Pollster Heroin Epidemic Donald Trump Racial Inequality US Senate Election Results HuffPost Hill Police Brutality Hate Crimes Supreme Court Congress So That Happened ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment Comedy Celebrity TV Arts + Culture Backspace Movies LIFESTYLE Healthy Living Travel Style Taste Home Relationships Sleep IMPACT Reclaim Project Zero HuffPost RYOT Good News VOICES Black Voices Latino Voices Women Fifty Queer Voices Parents VIDEO ALL SECTIONS Arts + Culture Black Voices Books Business Candidate Confessional Celebrity College Comedy Crime Divorce Dolce Vita Eat the Press Education Election Results Entertainment Fifty Good News Green Healthy Living Highline Home Horoscopes HuffPost Data HuffPost Hill Impact Latino Voices Media Newsletters Outspeak Parents Politics Pollster Queer Voices Religion Science Small Business So That Happened Sports Style Taste Tech Teen TestKitchen Travel TV Weddings Weird News Women FEATURED OWN Paving the Way The Power Of Humanity Retire Well Sleep + Wellness What's Working: Purpose + Profit WorldPost POLITICS 12/06/2016 04:21 pm ET | Updated Dec 06, 2016 GOP Vows Obamacare Repeal To Start 2017. Dems Dare Them. Senate Democrats predict repealing the Affordable Care Act will be a "huge calamity" for Republicans -- and for America. By Jonathan Cohn , Michael McAuliff 1.4k 310 WASHINGTON ― Senate Republicans on Tuesday announced they plan to act quickly to strip away Obamacare’s funding while leaving elements of the program in place for two or three years. The move would put them in lockstep with House Republicans, and would enable President-elect Donald Trump to sign a bill effectively repealing the program on his first day in office. Democrats promptly warned that the move would destabilize insurance markets in the short term and deprive millions of people of coverage in the long term, causing a “huge calamity” for America as well as for the Republican Party. At a Capitol Hill press conference following a meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence , Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stated that Obamacare repeal would be literally the first item of business when the new session begins. “When we come back January 3, we’ll be moving to the Obamacare replacement resolution,” McConnell said. “The Obamacare repeal resolution will be the first item up in the new year.” He made it clear that Republicans plan to proceed with the “repeal-and-delay” strategy that  GOP leaders have been discussing publicly for the last few weeks. Under such a strategy, Republicans would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s funding using the budget “reconciliation” process, where Democrats can’t filibuster and where Republicans can thus proceed with a narrow majority. But the reconciliation bill would allow the money for Obamacare’s coverage expansion to flow for another two or three years. In theory, this would give Republicans time to craft a replacement, while making sure the more than 20 million people now using Obamacare for coverage wouldn’t lose their insurance. “What we intend to do by repealing Obamacare is to start to repair the damage that’s been done to families and businesses as a result of its enactment,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said. “And then, after we have done that, we will go about the process of replacing, in a step-by-step way, the Obamacare provisions that we think that cause the most damage, and put in place reforms that we think will really work.” But experts have warned that quickly repealing the law, without an alternative system in place, would likely scare insurers away from the program, causing some markets to melt down. That’s particularly true if the repeal bill wipes away the individual mandate, a controversial Obamacare provision that forces people to pay a penalty if they decline to get coverage available to them. The aim of the mandate is to incentivize healthy people to buy coverage, so that insurers have enough premium dollars to offset the costs of the minority of beneficiaries with large medical bills. Republican leaders say they can craft and enact a coverage scheme superior to Obamacare, but they’ve yet to agree on a detailed alternative ― even though they’ve been at it for six years. The plans in circulation now, which consist mostly of principles for reform rather than actual legislation, would all result in some combination of many fewer people insured and far weaker guarantees of coverage. Typically these plans would mean cheaper insurance for the young and healthy, along with less government spending. But they’d also result in some combination of higher premiums or greater medica