Congress took a major step on Friday toward paving the way for dismantling the ACA, voting along party lines for the most part in favor of a spending blueprint.
The Senate passed the budget in a 51-48 vote early on Thursday morning, and the House of Representatives followed with a vote of 227-198 in favor of the budget.
- The federal government has also begun drafting legislation for a replacement coverage plan, according to a recent Washington Post interview with President-elect Donald Trump.
Some Republicans argued for delaying an ACA repeal until a replacement plan had been developed. But passing the budget reconciliation begins the reconciliation process that allows repeal of the ACA. Now, legislators have until January 27 to come up with more detailed draft proposals for repeal, which will be combined in a single budget bill.
A final budget bill still needs to pass, so it is not certain that a vote to repeal the ACA will pass in the near future.
President-elect Donald Trump recently indicated support for the strategy that many in the hospital and the health insurance industries would prefer: repealing or modifying the ACA and introducing a replacement plan “essentially simultaneously.”
Over the weekend, the President-elect expanded upon those comments and hinted at the beginnings of a replacement plan. That legislation will provide “insurance for everybody,” Trump told the Post. “It’s very much formulated down to the final strokes,” he said. “We haven’t put it in quite yet but we’re going to be doing it soon.”
A comprehensive replacement plan will likely need 60 votes in the Senate to pass. Republicans currently hold a 52-48 edge over Democrats in the Senate, so a replacement bill will require bipartisan support. Trump indicated that he will pressure Congress from the White House to ensure that replacement legislation is enacted.