Trump: ACA replacement might not be ready until 2018
Despite promising the demise of the Affordable Care Act within the first 100 days of his administration, an ACA replacement may not be ready this year, President Trump said during a Fox News interview with Bill O'Reilly on Sunday.
The statement is contrary to multiple assurances made by Trump and Republican Party members that Congress will repeal and replace the law as soon as possible.
"Maybe it'll take some time into next year, but we're certainly going to be in the process; very complicated," Trump said. "You have to remember Obamacare doesn't work, so we are putting in a wonderful plan.
"It statutorily takes a lot to get; we're going to be putting it in fairly soon," he added. "I think that yes, I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments. But we should have something within the year and the following year."
The assertion included no details on how Trump intended to enact the replacement, but he said he was confident his administration could accomplish it.
This past month, Trump signed an executive order that gave the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the power to ease regulatory requirements and ease "unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens" of the law – essentially jump starting the process of unraveling the ACA.
Additionally, he said he wanted to introduce the replacement after the Senate confirmed Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, as secretary of Health and Human Services. The vote is scheduled for this week.
But longtime repeal advocates have begun to speak out about the need for repair, rather than replace.
At a meeting of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, used the metaphor of a collapsing bridge: "You send in a rescue team and you go to work to repair it so that nobody else is hurt by it and you start to build a new bridge, and only when that new bridge is complete … do you close the old bridge," he said.
"No one is talking about repealing anything until there is a concrete practical alternative to offer Americans in its place," said Alexander.
Repealing the ACA without a replacement could leave more 30 million people uninsured by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released in January.