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Thursday, February 21, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Repealing Obamacare will be the first order of business in the U.S. Senate in January, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said on Tuesday.

Republicans will replace President Barack Obama’s signature health insurance program that provides coverage to millions of Americans “step by step,” said Senator John Thune, another member of the Republican leadership.

McConnell did not say when the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, as it is officially known, would go into effect. Senator John Barrasso said it might be effective in two or three years, and that the timeframe was still being debated.

Democrats scoffed at the Republican plans, saying they do not even know what they want to replace Obamacare with.

“Bring it on,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, who will be the Democrats’ leader in the Senate next year.

Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president last month means Republicans will control the White House, Senate and House of Representatives in 2017. The new Congress opens on Jan. 3; Trump will be sworn in on Jan. 20.

The Affordable Care Act has provided 25 million previously uninsured Americans with health coverage by expanding Medicaid and through online exchanges where consumers can receive income-based subsidies. Republicans have launched repeated legal and legislative efforts to dismantle the law, which they call a government overreach.

The average Obamacare premium is set to rise 25 percent in 2017.

Large national insurers including Aetna Inc, UnitedHealth Group Inc and Anthem Inc have said they are losing money on the exchanges because patient costs are higher than anticipated and enrollment is lower than forecast. Both UnitedHealth and Aetna have pulled out of the exchanges for 2017.

To repeal Obamacare, congressional Republicans are expected to resort to a special procedure known as budget reconciliation to get around Democrats in the Senate, where rules protect the rights of the minority party.

Thune said Republicans hoped Democrats would work with them to replace Obamacare in a way that will give states, rather than the federal government, more control over healthcare issues and create more flexibility for small businesses in the way they offer healthcare benefits.

But Senator Harry Reid, the outgoing Senate Democratic leader, dismissed the idea that Democrats would join in. “I think that any hope that we’re going to buy into ruining healthcare in America, there’s not a chance of it,” he said.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

IMAGE: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters after the Senate Republican weekly policy luncheon at the Capitol in Washington, July 8, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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10 responses to “McConnell: Repealing Obamacare First On Senate Agenda In 2017”

  1. Godzilla says:

    REPEAL…….period. Get government out of the business. Look what happened to college costs when they got involved, skyrocketed and now a problem, by which they were responsible. Anything government touches it will ALWAYS increase in cost.

    Open up State borders to allow competition, prices will drop within 6 months. In a year, prices will be 1/3rd lower. Stupid Keynesian morons can’t fix anything with laws.

    • Thoughtopsy says:

      What a great idea. Let’s leave the entire healthcare industry to the profit motive… Let’s see… what super-duper outcomes did that have last time?
      1) Insurance companies could refuse to cover you for any medical reason.
      2) Insurance companies routinely found legal ways to get out of covering your costs when you did get sick especially if the bill was very high.
      3) Insurance companies put caps on your coverage that did not cover the operations required, then sold those policies as good and useful. The surprise only came when you got sick and found out that your insurance only covered half of the $400K required… meaning from a financial standpoint you’re still ruined, but the insurance company has successfully taken money from you for years for the privilege.
      4) There’s no regulatory body… (Ensured by massive lobbying) so Insurance companies have formed into Country-wide and State-based cartels, and “Self-govern”. Jointly inflating pricing and effectively demanding sick patients move from the hospital they are in to a hospital that the insurance company “owns”. There are numerous reports of patients freaking out when the Insurance company calls them in hospital and threatens them with not paying for their treatment if they don’t move. These patients, sometimes in critical care having been ambulanced in for a cardiac incident, literally walk out of the hospital risking death due to the Insurance companies.
      5) And of course there’s the Pharma industry and the medical device industry… both driving up costs and screwing the public. Both lobbying massively to ensure they won’t be regulated or controlled, and to stop Medicaid and Medicare having any ability to negotiate costs down on behalf of the American people.

      Did Obamacare fix all of this? No.
      But it stopped some of the worst things, and ensured people could get insurance with a Private Company in a market place. It curtailed some of the worst abuses, and forced a higher quality of policy. It also flattened the cost increases that were routinely exploding every single year because of the Insurance vampires, and the Martin Skreil’s of the world.

      So throw it out… 23 million people lose all insurance. Insurance companies go back to screwing sick people. policies go back to having caps, and hidden restrictions… and the corporations slide back to being freely able to prey on people for money.

      What would be better?
      Single payer. You want to know how you get costs and the endless slaughter of your own population down? Have the government supply baseline healthcare and fund it from taxation. LIKE EVERY OTHER MODERN F**KING COUNTRY.
      – Because the Government becomes the largest purchaser. The government sets the prices by it’s purchasing decisions. It becomes cheaper for you to sell say 100 million units of EpiPens to the government every year for $30 each and 15% profit, than 9 million units to retail and hundreds of corporate customers for $300 and 2000% profit.
      – Because there’s actually some price pressure in the market on the MEDICAL and DRUG side.
      – Because Hospitals would have to stop putting ridiculous charges in your bill because they know that the Insurance company will only pay 15% of it.
      – Because the cost of Healthcare per PERSON would then drop to a reasonable level even when governmental inefficiency is figured into the equation as proved by EVERY OTHER MODERN F**KING COUNTRY.
      – Because people just don’t have to think about it after that. They pay their taxes, and they get basic healthcare. How hard is it to understand this?

      Opening up state borders will do absolutely nothing. These companies have now formed pricing Cartels. They’ve been that way for decades now. They’ve already adjusted the laws through lobbying to suit themselves. And they’re going to keep them that way. You open up the state borders and all you get are geographically larger cartels, and a sudden “need” for more mergers.

      Look at Comcast and TimeWarner in the comms space. Give it four years after opening State borders, and that is what you’ll have in the Health insurance industry: 2-3 massive players, and Congress writing more laws to ensure they can’t be competed against.

      Here’s what pinheads think about commerce:
      “Damn, look at all those rules and regulations… totally getting in the way of my profits/expansion/lower prices. If we just got rid of them all everything would sort itself out.”

      Here’s what smart people think about commerce:
      “We need to tweak a couple of laws to make things run better/promote more competition/ensure people can buy critical services and products. Markets run safer and more efficiently with clear laws and rules.”

      Consider the Tobacco companies. Actively lying to make money. Actively lobbying against rules and laws.
      Consider the lack of laws banning lead in paint and children’s toys from the 1920’s when EVERY OTHER MODERN F**KING COUNTRY BANNED IT through to the 1970’s when America finally banned it too… Incidentally after hundreds of thousands of lives were lost and ruined by lead poisoning. Why? because of a strong misinformation campaign and lobbying against rules or laws.
      Consider OPEC. The biggest cartel in the world. No rules or laws apply to them. So for literally decades they have played with the “free market” in order to personally enrich themselves. They have cornered stocks. Reduced supply
      to drive prices. Increased supply to destroy other markets. (If you’re smiling and nodding and think how cool it would be to be able to milk a whole market for every single dollar you can screw out of it, then f**k off, I can’t help you)

      You, personally, would be furious if you went to a restaurant, ate a burger… then were told two days later in hospital that you were going to die because of a contaminant in the food you ate. Especially when you ask why, and are told: “Well, the stupid Republicans deregulated the restaurant supply chain, so we started buying from this super cheap dude who waters his crops with chemical waste from the plant. So you know… with no rules or laws we can do what we want. We’re making quite a bit more money now, and we managed to drop our prices slightly so everybody wins. Oh except you. And the other 50 or so people. You’re just collateral damage. Pity you didn’t make better choices… you know… like the free market philosophy says.”
      “But I had no idea you were doing that! How would I possibly find that out?”
      “Not my problem, buddy. Sucks to be you, I guess.”

      As a bonus consider this:
      Your condition is deadly… but curable with the right drug. If you don’t get the drug you’ll die in two days.
      Your attempt to get the drug to save your life, but… alas… Martin Skreli has just purchased the company and it’s patent. He tells you that the cost of the supply you’ll need is 40 million dollars.
      You say; “But my insurance won’t cover that, and I can’t pay for it.”
      “Well. That’s the price. We just decided. It covers our… *snigger*… ummm…. “Marketing Costs””.
      “But I’ll die without it!”
      “Not my problem, buddy. Sucks to be you.”

      Yeah. Reeeeeeal smart.

      • dbtheonly says:

        One of my concerns is that the Republicans seem to view the Emergency Room as the Doctor of last resort.

        Why should hospitals, for profit, or not, have to bear the cost of the uninsured? Talk about picking winners and losers.

        BTW, look back 40 years to see what happened to Credit Cards on allowing interstate issuing. Wiped out State usury laws. Banks moved to the most bank friendly regulations State.

    • A nihilistic approach to life won’t serve you well, Godzilla. You’re so hopelessly constipated in thought, and myopic to boot. And what, Einstein do you propose for your relatives and friends who need support from Government on so many levels?
      Perhaps you should move to an island, erect a fence around it, with a sign that says “STAY OUT OF MY LIFE!”
      Pardon the melodrama, but your foolish remarks demand a strong rebuke.

  2. 1standlastword says:

    Well guys how about getting started posthaste with some goddamn cost controls to rescue those of us who pay rates in the stratosphere above a home mortgage!!!

  3. In the meantime, and as usual, Mitch hasn’t a clue as to what to put in place once he kicks those in need out the hospitals.
    Mitch, like so many other near-sighted dullards, can only think of profits and obstruction of progressive measures. That’s why they’re called Conservatives, forever stuck in neutral or moving backwards.

    • Cathleenhgarcia says:

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    • dbtheonly says:

      When you’re dealing with an insurance company, them making a profit is kinda the point. They must take in, in premiums, more than they pay out in expenses and payments to the insured.

      Look at lasik surgery. It’s not covered by insurance and the price has dropped in the past 20 years.

      I’ve stated before that the entire system is built on conflicting interests and is just FUBAR.

  4. secondclassguy says:

    They aren’t looking for a replacement, they just need time to figure out how to blame the mess they are about to create on Obama. That’s what they do, because they are incapable of doing anything else

  5. The GOP is serving a very useful role in showing in stark and glaring terms the state of decay at work in America—the Democrats as well, albeit they by and large at least make attempts to be altruistic in motivation and speak more of inclusiveness as opposed to exclusivity of the Right Wing.
    What a Stone Age person like the Kentuckian allows us to examine up close is how trapped he, his Party, and his constituents are stuck in the Dark Ages. Having very little sentiments to speak of that relate to the Spirit and Message of Jesus, Mitch and his cohorts are hell-bent on being Scrooges only concerned with fiscal matters and dedicated to the depraved art of obstructionism, cronyism, and similar diabolical expressions.
    Cubism, Impressionism, and the like are wonderful artistic expressions, but Obstructionism is an art form best displayed in a Junk Yard, with all other useless curios like Trumpism and Conservatism.

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