Despite promises to repeal Obamacare quickly and decisively, Senate Republicans are beginning to talk about first having an alternative plan in place before taking down the old plan.
The trouble started when Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian-leaning law-maker, began to urge his fellow Republicans to vote on a replacement bill at the same time they vote to repeal the ACA. The next day, decidedly right-leaning conservative Senator Tom Cotton joined Paul, and then the more middle-of-the-road Senator Bob Corker came on board, too. Paul then tweeted that the most important Republican supported his approach, too- President-elect Trump.
“I just spoke to @realDonaldTrump and he fully supports my plan to replace Obamacare the same day we repeal it,” Paul wrote. “The time to act is now.”
There are now no less than 6 GOP senators who have expressed concern about their party’s current path. They are worried that Republicans will be blamed for destroying the present health-care system and being the cause of voters’ loss of their health insurance, without any clear vision that the present system will be replaced with a better, as-good-as, or even any new health care plan.
“I think the president-elect’s position is the right position,” Corker said. “During the campaign, he said that repeal and replace should take place simultaneously. That to me is the prudent course of action.”
Paul says he will have a replacement bill ready next week.
“There’s political pressure to move quickly and to be decisive. It’s prudent to be thinking through not only what happens next month but in two, three, four years,” said a Republican senator familiar with internal discussion. “It may be wise to put forward some replacement provisions so you take away the argument that it’s all about repeal.”
“The most important thing for the American people is to know that there aren’t going to be 20 million people without healthcare,” added GOP Senator Dean Heller, who is up for reelection in a swing state in 2018. “It’s a messaging issue.”