Congressional leaders have warned that replacing Obamacare could take years and Republican lawmakers are considering repealing the law immediately while delaying its replacement for three years, but the incoming leader of the House Freedom Caucus is not on board.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the next chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told Politico on Monday that a plan to replace Obamacare in three years “will meet with major resistance from Freedom Caucus members.” Meadows said that the replacement should not be “left to a future Congress to deal with.”
“It should be repealed and replaced, and all of that should be done in the 115th Congress,” he told Politico.
Meadows said that the plan to replace Obamacare will be “the first big fight I see coming for the Freedom Caucus.”
The Freedom Caucus, the conservative group of congressmen known for their hardline approach, may rankle GOP leaders by preventing consensus on a plan for repealing and replacing Obamacare despite the fact that the party controls both houses of Congress and the White House.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said that repealing Obamacare is a top priority next year, but he acknowledged on Monday that it will take time to replace the health care law and indicated that there will be some kind of “transition.”
“Clearly there will be a transition and a bridge so that no one is left out in the cold, so that no one is worse off,” he told the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal. “It will clearly take time. It took them about six years to stand up Obamacare. It’s not going to be replaced come next football season.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as well as other Republican senators, has also said that replacing Obamacare could be a lengthy process.
“You can’t just snap your fingers and go from where we are today to where we’re headed,” McConnell said Saturday. “This has to be done carefully. It has to be done in a phased-in way over a period of time.”