January 12, 2017
Democrats will consider the Republican provisions to replace the Affordable Care Act, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday, but she warned against ditching the “free market initiative” included in the current healthcare law.
“Let’s see what they have to offer,” Pelosi said at an event aimed at highlighting health benefits they believe will be lost if the law were repealed.
Democrats pledged Thursday to increase public opposition to repealing the law, a step Republicans plan to take in the coming weeks.
Democrats have no power to stop the repeal because Republicans hold a 23-seat majority in the House. In the Senate, Republicans will be able to pass the measure with a simple majority.
Democrats hope to get the public to put pressure on the GOP to back down from the plan.
“Nothing is more important than outside mobilization,” Pelosi said. “Members of Congress will be hearing from their constituents.”
Republicans plan to put forward proposals to replace the law and pass some of it concurrently with a repeal measure later this year. The GOP has offered few details but a healthcare reform outline is included in the party’s six-part agenda. Expanding health savings accounts is likely to be included in the GOP replacement plan, as well as tax credits for insurance purchases and allowing people to buy plans outside their residential state.
“If they want to put something on the table, we’ll take a look, of course,” Pelosi said. “We’re legislators. We’ll see what they put forward.”
Democrats warned repealing the law “will lead to chaos” and raise insurance prices and deductibles.
Those costs have skyrocketed under Obamacare — up more than 50 percent and even doubling in some places.
But Democrats said the law helps many people who cannot afford health insurance. And they said the mandate, which requires everyone to purchase insurance or pay a fine, originated with Republicans.
The conservative Heritage Foundation endorsed the idea decades ago that families have catastrophic insurance coverage. Heritage long ago abandoned support for a mandate, however.
“This is a free market initiative,” Pelosi said of Obamacare. “Buy insurance, then you get a subsidy if you need it.”