It was early last month when House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested that an ACA repeal would be far from immediate, as the transitional period in and of itself could take well over a year to fully complete. Despite the late night closed door meetings amongst members of the GOP, where a repeal felt like it was inching up by the day, President Trump has now echoed Ryan’s sentiment. An ACA repeal will not be as immediate as he initially touted.
In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly moments before the Super Bowl, Trump again commented on the ACA repeal/replace timeline. Not too long ago, he announced that a repeal and replace would happen “essentially simultaneously” after the appointment of Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
This time, while Trump explained that his administration is “certainly” in the process of getting the repeal wheels in motion, he acknowledged that the time frame for execution will be longer than expected. “I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments,” Trump told O’Reilly. “But we should have something within the year and the following year.” These remarks are a complete change of heart from his initial claims to have a simultaneous repeal and replacement. It isn’t as easy as it looks; something the Democrats have chanted since Trump’s election.
When the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, it was just the starting point. In fact, it didn’t really hit its stride until 2015 when significant drops in the uninsured materialized, and employers began to learn the value of keeping clean paperwork and complying with the ACA or else face penalties.
Considering the 5-year journey to implement the ACA, dismantling and replacing in less than a month was never a realistic possibility. Still, there have been many sharp turns in Trump’s view on the ACA since taking office, this latest announcement from Trump on the ACA could just be another twist in the long and winding road towards a repeal and replace. We’ll have to wait and see what 2018 brings, and perhaps much later than that.
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