As the Senate struggles to come up with a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare that wins the approval of 50 Republican senators, a Republican senator on Friday morning suggested repealing the Affordable Care Act now and devising a replacement later. President Donald Trump quickly jumped on board.
However, it’s not clear that Republican senators would back this approach given that some have previously opposed such a strategy. The fact that the Senate GOP leadership has yet to come up with a deal that at least 50 senators can agree upon may also make some senators wary of punting on a replacement, especially those who have concerns about the current draft bill now.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), wrote a letter to Trump Friday morning suggesting a plan to repeal Obamacare now, with a year-long delay in implementation, setting up Congress to work on a replacement plan this summer.
“On the current path, it looks like Republicans will either fail to pass any meaningful bill at all, or will instead pass a bill that attempts to prop up much of the crumbling ObamaCare structures. We can and must do better than either of these – both because the American people deserve better, and because we promised better,” Sasse wrote in the letter.
He asked Trump to call on Republicans to repeal Obamacare in early July if they cannot reach an agreement on a comprehensive plan by then.
“We should include a year-long implementation delay to give comfort to Americans currently on ObamaCare that a replacement plan will be enacted before expiration,” Sasse added.
He then suggested Congress cancel its August recess to work on a replacement plan, passing that by Labor Day.
Trump quickly praised this plan.
If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
Senate leaders pitched this approach in January. But the plan was quickly shelved when at least four senators opposed that strategy. It’s possible those Senate Republicans would raise concerns about that approach again, especially given that the caucus has been unable to reach agreement on a suitable replacement plan.
Yet, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who initially opposed this strategy in January, threw his support behind the approach on Friday morning.
I have spoken to @realDonaldTrump & Senate leadership about this and agree. Let's keep our word to repeal then work on replacing right away.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 30, 2017