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Repeal, Replace: Too Many Options, Too Little Consensus

It’s clear that Republicans want to get the Obamacare repeal headed in the right direction. There’s one big problem, however. Too many different competing plans have been introduced to replace the law.

Several plans have been presented or are expected, however none appear to have the necessary support to achieve Congressional approval. And it’s unlikely that any of plans would convince the public that it should replace Obamacare. That’s a sad state of affairs given that Republicans have been trying to abolish the ACA for six years.

How to repeal and replace seems to be a question. There’s no agreement on what can be done through the budget reconciliation process, and when it comes to dismantling the entire law—this year, next year, who knows? It’s clear that Republicans want to find a solution that the whole party can get behind, but as of now, this hasn’t happened.

Instead of finding broad support for a single bill, there are a number of alternatives. Senators Cassidy’s (R-La.) and Susan Collins’ (R-Maine) plan would give states autonomy in creating their own health care plans, including keeping Obamacare. Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) bill would by and large repeal the ACA with little replacement. In addition, the House Freedom Caucus wants to introduce its own bill similar to Senator Paul’s.

Will it be possible for Republicans to pass a comprehensive health care plan after repealing the ACA? Hard to say. Some Senators are saying no; they believe that they will have to pass legislation piece by piece, while at the same time adding replacement language into a repeal bill. Then, of course, changes would need to be made to garner Democratic support in the Senate.

These are just the beginnings of what is to come. In addition to the Senate’s proposals, House Republicans are preparing new legislation to be released as early as next week that would start the repeal and replace process in the House. President Trump is expected to release a proposal also. Having to develop a concensus agreement between these entities adds to the complexity.

This will take time. More time than anyone thought.