U.S. House speaker: Obamacare repeal will have transition time, replacement

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By Lisa Lambert and Emily Stephenson

<span class="articleLocation”>The U.S. House of Representatives will include
parts of a plan to replace Obamacare in their first steps to
repeal it, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday, as
Republicans, including President-elect Donald Trump, discussed a
replacement for President Barack Obama’s signature health law.

Republicans want repealing the Affordable Care Act, as
Obamacare is formally known, at the top of their agenda when
Trump takes office on Jan. 20. But they have not reached
consensus on a new health insurance law to take its place.

Critics say undoing the law before replacing it could
disrupt the insurance market and cause people to lose coverage,
and Trump has told Republicans to be careful how they proceed.

Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence planned to discuss
the healthcare law on Tuesday with U.S. Representative Tom
Price, Trump’s pick for secretary of health and human services,
and Seema Verma, who Trump has named to run the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services, transition spokesman Sean Spicer

Ryan said on Tuesday that some elements of a substitute plan
for Obamacare would be ready sooner rather than later, though he
gave no details.

“It is our goal to bring it all together concurrently,” Ryan
told reporters. “We need to make sure there is a stable
transition period so that people do not have the rug pulled out
from under them.”

He said House lawmakers will pass whatever replacement
provisions they can through a budget and reconciliation process
now underway, then use a regular legislative process for
additional measures.

The Senate is expected to vote this week on a budget measure
that would direct committees to draft Obamacare repeal
legislation shortly. If the measure passes the Senate, it would
go to the House for a vote, probably on Friday, House Republican
aides said.

Spicer said Trump was “continuing to formulate a plan” for
replacing Obamacare.

Trump’s senior aides met with Ryan on Monday night and
discussed the Affordable Care Act and tax policy. Spicer said
Trump was focused on more than one priority as his inauguration
drew near.

Spicer also said Trump would continue to reiterate his
commitment to protect Medicare as a guiding principle, which
could prove problematic in negotiations with Congress. Some
Republicans want to shift the government health insurance
program for the elderly to the private sector. (Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell)

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