The 115th Congress is expected to immediately launch an assault on President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.
A bare-bones budget resolution acting as a vehicle to dismantle the Affordable Care Act will get a House floor vote this week, according to a memo from Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as first reported by CQ Roll Call.
That means the Senate needs only a majority vote to take up and pass the budget resolution.
“They are eager to prove they are capable of governing and keeping their promises,” said John Gorman, a former CMS official who is now a healthcare consultant in Washington.
The expedited process would allow Republicans to strip funding for major parts of the healthcare law, like the cost-sharing subsidies, Medicaid expansion and premium stabilization programs. GOP leaders have also signaled they will ax the mandate requiring people to enroll in health coverage as soon as possible.
Budget reconciliation bills can only include provisions with a budgetary impact and that do not raise spending, so there would likely be a delay—possibly by as much as three years—before Republicans implement a plan to replace the ACA.
Healthcare industry leaders warn that delaying a replacement plan could cause the individual insurance market to collapse and endanger hospitals that would provide uncompensated care for the 20 million people who would become uninsured once the ACA is nixed.