Obama: ‘Reckless’ For Congress To Repeal ACA Without Replacement Ready

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Barack Obama is warning Republican congressional leaders that they are playing with fire if they proceed with their “reckless” plan to repeal his signature health care law without a replacement prepared.

“This approach of ‘repeal first and replace later’ is, simply put, irresponsible — and could slowly bleed the health care system that all of us depend on,” the President wrote in an article published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Moving forward with repeal without introducing a replacement bill, holding a hearing on it, producing a cost analysis, or engaging in the public debate that preceded the passage of the Affordable Care Act would “jeopardize financial security and access to care for tens of millions of Americans,” according to the president.

Health care policy experts across the ideological spectrum have warned that the “repeal and delay” plan would wreak havoc on the insurance system, and that there is no way to ensure that a GOP consensus replacement plan will be passed by the new Congress.

Obama echoed those concerns, noting “there is no guarantee of getting a second vote” to pass whatever replacement plan the Republican-controlled Congress ultimately develops. This would leave hospitals burdened with the cost of providing uncompensated care to individuals and people with preexisting conditions unsure that they will receive the medication and care they require, he wrote.

The President urged Congress to “take a responsible, bipartisan approach to improving the health care system” rather than dismantling it in a piecemeal fashion.

A number of Republican lawmakers have made the same case this week, warning their colleagues that they must roll out repeal and a comprehensive replacement plan simultaneously or risk jeopardizing the health care of millions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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