U.S. Republican senator introduces Obamacare repeal resolution

© Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Demonstrators in favour of Obamacare gather at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., on March 4, 2015.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senator Mike Enzi introduced on Tuesday a resolution allowing for the repeal of President Barack Obama's signature health insurance program, which provides coverage to millions of Americans, Enzi's office said in a statement.
The move by the Senate's budget committee chairman on the first day of the new Congress set in motion the Republican majority's promise to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, as its first major legislative item.

Republicans have said the repeal process could take months and that developing replacement health insurance plans could take years.

More than 20 million previously uninsured Americans gained health coverage through Obamacare. Coverage was extended by expanding the Medicaid program for the poor and through online exchanges where consumers can receive income-based subsidies.

Republicans have launched repeated courtroom and legislative efforts to dismantle the law, criticizing it as government overreach. Democrats have scoffed at Republicans' plans, accusing them of never having united around a replacement strategy.

The Republicans are using a budget resolution to provide for Obamacare's repeal, allowing them to act without any Democratic votes. Budget resolutions require a simple majority to pass in the Senate, instead of the 60 votes normally required to clear procedural hurdles. There are 52 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber.

The budget resolution contains so-called reconciliation instructions, directing committees to dismantle Obamacare as part of reconciling taxes and spending with the budget blueprint - and to report back to the budget committee by Jan. 27.

A Senate vote on the resolution could come next week, with action in the House of Representatives expected to follow. But the repeal process won't be complete until the committees finish the reconciliation procedure and votes are taken on their work.

"These instructions to committees are provided to facilitate immediate action on repeal, with the intent of sending legislation to the new president’s desk as soon as possible," the statement from Enzi's office said.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly vowed during last year's presidential campaign to repeal Obamacare.


Obamacare repeal effort launched by Sen. Mike Enzi on first day of new Congress


Now comes the hard part.

Sen. Mike Enzi on Tuesday launched an effort to repeal Obamacare, introducing a resolution for the new Congress that would allow that to happen, according to a statement from the Wyoming Republican's office cited by Reuters.

The repeal effort is being mounted without there yet being a similar effort to adopt a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.

Enzi, who is the chairman of the Senate's budget committee, proposes using the process known as reconciliation to undo much of the Affordable Care Act.

Reconciliation, which relates to budgetary matters, can be passed with a simple majority, as opposed to nonbudgetary bills, which can require 60 senators' votes to break a filibuster against them.

"Americans face skyrocketing premiums and soaring deductibles," Enzi said, according to a statement from his office obtained by CQRollCall.com.

"Insurers are withdrawing from markets across the country, leaving many families with fewer choices and less access to care than they had before — the opposite of what the law promised."

"Today, we take the first steps to repair the nation's broken health-care system, removing Washington from the equation and putting control back where it belongs: with patients, their families and doctors."

The resolution Enzi introduced, according to a summary from his office obtained by CQRollCall.com, would allow repeal legislation to be fast-tracked and passed "with only a simple majority in the Senate, as in the House."

That is "to facilitate immediate action on repeal, with the intent of sending legislation to the new President's desk as soon as possible," the summary said.

The resolution also called for four authorizing committees in the Senate and House to report repeal legislation to their budget committee by Jan. 27, and also calls for the reserve of funding "necessary to accommodate legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare," the summary said.

Obamacare has expanded health insurance coverage by 20 million Americans in the past several years, according to census data.


U.S. Republican senator introduces Obamacare repeal resolution

Republican U.S. Senator Mike Enzi introduced on Tuesday a resolution allowing for the repeal of President Barack Obama's signature health insurance program, which provides coverage to millions of Americans, Enzi's office said in a statement.

The move by the Senate's budget committee chairman on the first day of the new Congress set in motion the Republican majority's promise to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, as its first major legislative item.

Republicans have said the repeal process could take months and that developing replacement health insurance plans could take years.

More than 20 million previously uninsured Americans gained health coverage through Obamacare. Coverage was extended by expanding the Medicaid program for the poor and through online exchanges where consumers can receive income-based subsidies.

Republicans have launched repeated courtroom and legislative efforts to dismantle the law, criticizing it as government overreach. Democrats have scoffed at Republicans' plans, accusing them of never having united around a replacement strategy.

The Republicans are using a budget resolution to provide for Obamacare's repeal, allowing them to act without any Democratic votes. Budget resolutions require a simple majority to pass in the Senate, instead of the 60 votes normally required to clear procedural hurdles. There are 52 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber.

The budget resolution contains so-called reconciliation instructions, directing committees to dismantle Obamacare as part of reconciling taxes and spending with the budget blueprint - and to report back to the budget committee by Jan. 27.

A Senate vote on the resolution could come next week, with action in the House of Representatives expected to follow. But the repeal process won't be complete until the committees finish the reconciliation procedure and votes are taken on their work.

"These instructions to committees are provided to facilitate immediate action on repeal, with the intent of sending legislation to the new president’s desk as soon as possible," the statement from Enzi's office said.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly vowed during last year's presidential campaign to repeal Obamacare.

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