The United States Republican senators are considering a plan to delay the date of repeal of Obamacare by about three years, according to the latest debate among GOP leaders. Some conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives are not in favor of such a long delay in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act,  the  signature health care initiative of President Obama’s administration.  Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which oversees health care legislation, said it would probably take three years to develop a plan to replace Obamacare. “It takes time to do things around here.”

Republicans in both the House of Representatives and the Senate have said that the repeal of Obamacare will be the first order of business when Congress reconvenes in 2017.  The new Congress went back into session on January 3, 2017 and President-elect Trump will be sworn in on January 20. The election of Donald Trump gives Republicans control over the White House and Congress beginning in 2017.

The debate over Obamacare will center around how quickly to repeal the plan, and develop a replacement to provide coverage to Americans who have health care insurance through Obamacare.  Some Republican members favor a two year phase out plan to stay ahead of the next congressional election cycle, to ensure that plans are set while the GOP is in the majority.

The Affordable Care Act has provided health care coverage for 25 million uninsured Americans since it was implemented.  Despite threats of repeal, sign-ups in South Carolina have increased over time with more than 147,000 South Carolina residents purchasing health insurance for next year.  Nationally 6.4 million Americans have signed up during the open enrollment period for next year. The percent of South Carolinians without health insurance has dropped from 23 percent to 16 percent in the last three years, according to a report by the Commonweath Fund. The number of African Americans and Hispanic patients has dropped even more dramatically during this time period by 9 percent. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said that coverage through the Affordable Care Act will remain valid even if the law is repealed once President-elect Trump takes office.

Source: Post & Courier, December 22, 2016, “Obamacare sign-ups on rise in SC.” By Lauren Sausser

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