Following a meeting with President Obama about plans to defend his signature health care law, Hill Democrats on Wednesday morning said that they are prepared to fight for Obamacare as Republicans push to repeal the law.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters that in the meeting Obama emphasized the importance of keeping the Affordable Care Act, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Schumer also said that he is confident that three of the most popular aspects of Obamacare — banning insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, and ensuring equal treatment for women — will remain.
The minority leader predicted that Republicans will struggle to replace the Affordable Care Act.
“They have no idea what to put in place of the Affordable Care Act,” Schumer told reporters during a press conference following the meeting. “Republicans will soon learn that you can’t keep the good parts of the ACA and remove the rest of the law and still have it work.”
Schumer argued that repealing Obamacare would cause “chaos” in the health insurance market, add to the deficit, harm rural hospitals, and cause insurance premiums to “skyrocket.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) agreed that Republicans do not have a solid plan.
“They don’t have the votes for a replacement plan,” she told reporters. “Repeal and then delay is an act of cowardice.”
When asked how Democrats will approach a replacement if Republicans repeal Obamacare, Schumer said that Democrats will wait to see the Republican plan. The Senate minority leader said that Republicans have an “obligation” to come up with a replacement if they choose to repeal the health care law.
“They want to repeal it and try to hang it on us,” Schumer said, adding that Democrats won’t let that happen. “Let them show us what they’re proposal is.”
Schumer also predicted that Republicans will struggle more politically as they move forward with an Obamacare repeal. He said that as they begin to repeal the law, “they’re going to start losing people on their side.”
He said that Democrats struggled to market Obamacare because every issue with the health care system was attributed to the Affordable Care Act. But he said that Republicans will soon take on that blame.
“That’s why they’re running to do this first is a huge mistake for them and the country,” Schumer said. “I believe a year from now they will regret they came out so fast out of the box.”