With the GOP now running Congress and Donald Trump looking for a full repeal on his first day in office, ObamaCare appears to be in dire straits, and the New York Times explains how Republicans could use a process called budget reconciliation to streamline its dismantling. Although the rewriting procedure—an expediting of legislation related to taxes or spending that typically needs only a simple Senate majority to pass—is sometimes deemed "arcane," it's also "probably the most potent budget enforcement tool available to Congress for a large portion of the budget," per the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The GOP attempted a reconciliation bill against the ACA in 2016, but President Obama vetoed it. More on ObamaCare's possible fate:
- The CBC runs through the ACA's potential fast-track demise, offering a refresher on what the federally managed insurance exchange is, why the GOP wants to take it down, and how soon that could happen.
- The New York Times lays out the four-step blueprint Republicans are likely to use to start the repeal process, starting with a Democratic filibuster-shielding resolution and capped off by whatever alternative the GOP has to offer.
- And that GOP alternative? The Washington Post points out there doesn't seem to be one right now and that "unanswered questions" remain, including whether health care taxes will immediately get the ax. "If you are repealing, show us what you'll replace it with. Then we'll look at what you have and see what you can do," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said Wednesday after meeting with VP-elect Mike Pence.
- NPR tries to suss out the truth between what the Democrats and the GOP are claiming, noting "both sides are trying to position themselves as the protectors of Americans' health care, while branding the other party as a dangerous threat."
- Sign-ups on HealthCare.gov hovered near 8.8 million as of Saturday, per NBC News, about 200,000 more than last year's open-enrollment period. "It is clear that Americans want and need this vital coverage," HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell says.
- NBC News also notes the failure of one ObamaCare adversary's attempt to rally support online. GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn got an overwhelming response to her Twitter poll asking if followers wanted a repeal—though not in the direction she hoped.
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