Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday wouldn’t commit to a firm timetable for replacing Obamacare, saying it would occur “rapidly” or “very quickly” after the law’s repeal this year.
The Kentucky Republican also wouldn’t say whether everyone covered by the Affordable Care Act would still have health insurance under a GOP plan, pivoting to the fact that 25 million Americans still lack insurance under President Obama’s reforms.
Senate Republicans are moving rapidly to set up their repeal of Obamacare by debating a budget resolution that would pave the way for a final vote later this year without having to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Republicans have prevailed in two early test votes.
Still, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and a handful of other Senate Republicans are skittish about forging ahead without an alternative in hand, and President-elect Donald Trump has suggested that “repeal” and “replace” should be simultaneous.
“I just spoke to @realDonaldTrump and he fully supports my plan to replace Obamacare the same day we repeal it. The time to act is now,” Mr. Paul said Friday on Twitter.
Yet congressional Republican leaders are speeding toward repeal before they draft an alternative, arguing that Americans in the individual insurance market require relief from rising premiums and dwindling choices under Obamacare.
“We will be replacing it rapidly,” Mr. McConnell told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said “it would be ideal” if Republicans could could scrap and replace the law in one fell swoop, but they are still working out the details.
“The full replacement may take more time than an instantaneous action,” Mr. Priebus told CBS. “Our intent is to make it happen as quickly as possible.”
Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey Democrat, said Republicans are shoving millions of Americans who rely on Obamacare off a cliff without a clear safety net.
Senate Republicans, who hold 52 seats, will need several Democrats to support their plan to overcome a filibuster.