Lee: ‘Huge mistake’ to delay Obamacare repeal

Sen. Mike Lee says Pres. Trump and congressional Republicans risk the wrath of voters if they break their campaign promises to quickly repeal Obamacare. While some GOP leaders believe the healthcare law shouldn’t be junked until its replacement is ready, Lee argues that the havoc likely to follow a flat repeal is preferable to the current chaos of Obamacare’s soaring rates and dwindling insurance options.

Washington Times:

“I think repeal becomes a lot more difficult if you load it down with all the heavy details involving what comes next, where we don’t have a whole lot of consensus,” Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, said at a roundtable meeting hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

He is at odds with Republican leaders, who have said they want to have a replacement in hand when they repeal the 2010 law. They say insurance markets need the certainty of knowing what comes next.

President Trump recently told Fox News that the repeal-and-replace effort might stretch into next year, though House leaders said he was referring to implementation of the new policy. They said they are still aiming for a vote this year.

Party leaders are behind their own self-imposed schedule, however.

Key committees were to have their plans ready by Jan. 27 so both chambers could take up fast-track repeal legislation that avoids a Democratic filibuster.

Conservatives are growing impatient, saying they promised in election campaigns last year that they would quickly repeal the law.

“The biggest problem with waiting is that’s not what we told the voters,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican.

Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, said the fastest way to rectify the market is to repeal Obamacare, citing a lack of choices in his state.

“There is one carrier in my district now,” he said.

Congress approved a repeal in late 2015 only to have it vetoed by President Obama. That bill immediately repealed the “individual mandate” tax penalty for failing to have insurance, then took two years to cut off taxpayer subsidies that help people buy private plans and nix the expansion of Medicaid in selected states.

“I think it would be a huge mistake to ratchet that back down. The chaos American people are facing right now is related to a set of circumstances put in place by Obamacare. That’s what has created the chaos,” Mr. Lee said. “I wish there were a nonchaotic path [forward], one that were easy.”