House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, said Obamacare was collapsing and action was urgent. For people who have health insurance through the Obamacare system, he said, “The deductibles are so high it doesn’t feel like you’ve got insurance in the first place.
“We have to step in before things get worse. This is nothing short of a rescue mission,” Ryan said.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi rebutted Republicans’ claims that the law was a failure.
“The rate of growth in healthcare costs in our country has been greatly diminished by the Affordable Care Act,” she said. “In the more than 50 years that they have been measuring the rate of growth, it has never been slower than now.”
The choice before lawmakers, she said, is “affordable care versus chaos.”
Trump applauded Congress’ efforts with a Friday morning tweet saying, “The ‘Unaffordable’ Care Act will soon be history!” The president-elect, who takes office on Jan. 20, pressed lawmakers this week to repeal and replace it “essentially simultaneously.”
Republican leaders would like to finish the repeal process within weeks but some lawmakers think it could take far longer.
Some Republicans have expressed concern about starting a repeal before agreeing on how to replace provisions of the complicated and far-reaching law.
The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated repealing Obama’s signature health insurance law entirely would cost roughly $350 billion over 10 years.
Republicans say a good replacement would give states more control of a healthcare program and provide more stability on health insurance premiums.