Perhaps as a result an angry backlash to last night's report by the WSJ that President-elect Donald Trump had allegedly sided with Rand Paul in pushing to delay the repeal of Obamacare until such time as there is a suitable replacement option, which as we explained are two entirely distinct processes, and that an ACA replacement could take years as it would require bipartisan support, moments ago the the NYT reported that Trump appears to have backtracked on his position as recently as yesterday, and has pressed Republicans to move forward with the "immediate repeal" of the Affordable Care Act and to replace it very quickly thereafter, saying, “We have to get to business. Obamacare has been a catastrophic event.”
Trump’s position undercuts Republicans who want a quick vote to repeal President Obama’s signature domestic achievement but who also want to wait as long as two to three years to come up with an alternative. But more to the point presented last night, Trump's latest statement also is challenging the resolve of Republicans in Congress who do not want any vote on a repeal until that replacement exists such as Rand Paul, with whom Trump was said to have sided over the weekend.
According to the NYT Trump, "who seemed unclear about the timing of already scheduled votes" in Congress this week, demanded a repeal vote “probably some time next week,” and said “the replace will be very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter.”
That, however, as the NYT correctly notes, is impossible as republicans in Congress are nowhere close to agreement on a major health bill that would replace President Obama’s signature domestic achievement. A number of Republicans in the House and Senate have said publicly that they wanted to hold off on voting to eviscerate the health law until a replacement measure could be negotiated. Additionally, Democrats and Republicans would have to agree on a replacement to the existing law, which as Goldman explained yesterday afternoon, is likely the bottleneck that could take as much as 2 years.
So what is the current status of this suddenly chaotic process?
For now, the Senate is planning to vote Thursday morning on a budget resolution that would set up parliamentary protections for a health care repeal bill that would have to emerge from House and Senate committees by Jan. 27. The House would vote on Friday if that budget measure clears the Senate.
While that plan is under pressure from Republicans who want to slow the process as they struggle for an agreement on what would follow repeal, Trump is now saying there is no cause for delay, a 180 degree change in the position he reportedly espoused over the past few days. Trump also said he would not accept a delay of "more than a few weeks" before a replacement plan was voted on.
“Long to me would be weeks,” he said. “It won’t be repeal and then two years later go in with another plan.” That directly contradicts House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s plans.
Furthermore, in his conversation with the NYT, Trump showed no sign of willingness to accept the health law any longer, despite numbers released today according to which some 11.5 million Americans have picked marketplace plans for 2017.
“It’s a catastrophic event,” he said. “I feel that repeal and replace have to be together, for very simply, I think that the Democrats should want to fix Obamacare. They cannot live with it, and they have to go together.”
And that's where he is wrong, because Democrats would be delighted to not fix Obamacare, leaving over 11 million Americans uninsured, and furious at Trump for removing their insurance protections.
Trump, however, disagrees and has issued a political warning to Democrats who might stand in his way, saying he would campaign against lawmakers, especially in states that he won in November.
“It may not get approved the first time, and it may not get approved the second time, but the Democrats who will try not to approve it” will be at risk, warning that “they have 10 people coming up” for re-election in 2018. That alluded to Democratic senators in states he won.
“I won some of those states by numbers that nobody has seen. I will be out there campaigning,” he said.
To summarize, with Trump suddenly backtracking on a position he allegedly had as recently as yesterday, it appears the repeal of Obamacare will proceed as expected, and quickly, even though as of this moment, there are no concerte plans how to proceed with conceiving and implementing a replacement to the soon to the be repealed ACA. In other words, Chaos.