Obamacare Repeal Budget Resolution Passes Senate With 51 Votes

Pence, congressional Republicans meet to discuss Obamacare replacement

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, flanked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Barrasso / AP
January 4, 2017

Senate Republicans passed a budget resolution on Wednesday that would repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act.

The resolution, which used the reconciliation process to repeal elements of Obamacare with only 51 votes, was introduced Tuesday by Sen. Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Republicans are using the reconciliation process to "fast-track" repeal and send legislation to President-elect Donald Trump's desk as soon as possible. The budget resolution would require $1 billion in deficit reduction over the next decade and reserves funds for a replacement health care reform plan.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with Senate and House Republicans in the Capitol to discuss plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

"Make no mistake about it, we're going to keep our promise to the American people and we're going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with solutions that lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government," Pence said.

Pence highlighted the importance of ensuring an orderly and smooth transition process as Obamacare is replaced with an alternative.

"It will be important that we be careful as we do that, that we do that in a way that doesn't work a hardship on American families who have gained insurance through this program—doesn't work a hardship on our economy," Pence said.

"And as I told the House Republican conference today, we're working on a strategy in concert with the leadership of the House and the Senate for both a legislative and executive action agenda to ensure that an orderly and smooth transition to a market-based healthcare reform system is achieved," he said.

Democratic leaders, including Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Cali.), led a press conference Wednesday where they said it was a mistake for Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act before devising a replacement plan.

"So far it's been five years of repeal, repeal, repeal—not one replace plan has garnered a lot of support even on the Republican side of the aisle let alone in America," Schumer said.

"It's a very different story to take something away from someone, so our argument in terms of the Affordable Care Act is people have enjoyed the benefits of it," Pelosi said. "It's one thing to say to people this is what you can get, it's another thing to say this is what will be taken away from you."

Pence noted that Republicans have ideas about how to replace Obamacare.

"While others are visiting the Capitol today talking about defending the failed policies of the past, we are here today speaking to Republican majorities in the House and Senate to advance policies that will make America great again," Pence said.

"There's a broad range of ideas about how we do this and Republicans have been offering those ideas again and again literally every year since Obamacare was first signed into law," he said.

Published under: Health Care , Obamacare