by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The healthcare industry is starting to line up with wish lists as the GOP-led Congress and the Trump transition team work on their Obamacare strategy.
Insurers, drug makers, device makers, doctors, hospitals and states will be piling on the pressure as the newly elected Congress returns next month to a laundry list of projects topped by repealing the healthcare law. The ground is primed for an intense industry lobbying effort, as Republican lawmakers consider a range of different approaches for repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with their own reform plan.
Republicans have said they intend to use special budgeting rules to repeal the law and provide a transition period so people don’t immediately lose coverage. But House Speaker Paul Ryan, who will guide the effort, has remained vague about details beyond that.
“We want to make sure that we have a good transition period, so that people can get better coverage at a better price,” Ryan told “60 Minutes” last week, but he said he doesn’t know the answer to how long the transition period will be or specifics about a replacement plan.
The healthcare industry was involved when Congress wrote and passed the healthcare law six years ago. In exchange for getting more insured patients able to pay for their care, insurers, providers and pharmaceutical companies agreed to pay new taxes and give up some federal payments to fund the sweeping healthcare law.
Now each sector is worried that lawmakers won’t keep their interests in mind in seeking a replacement to the law Republicans have vowed for so long to repeal.