Health legislation is in limbo at best, chaos at worst, as Congressional Republicans pull a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
A Nebraska senator still pushes for change.
Sen. Ben Sasse has opposed the Affordable Care Act from the beginning.
“We need to fully repeal the ACA or Obamacare and we need to replace it with something that allows Nebraska families to buy the policy that they want that goes with them across job and geographic change,” Sasse tells Nebraska Radio Network in a recent interview.
Republican leadership in the United States House had crafted a proposed replacement for the ACA, but struggled to get the votes needed to pass the bill. With no Democrats pledged to vote for the Republican replacement, leadership had to seek consensus among its members. With the votes not there, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill without a vote Friday.
The Affordable Care Act remains intact.
It shouldn’t, according to Sasse, who points out every Republican campaigned on repeal.
Sasse says the politics of repeal can be addressed in two steps. He notes Democrats approved the ACA in two steps, first using their super-majority status in late 2009 to approve the bill, then using Senate rules which required only a simple majority to approve the final, modified version through budget reconciliation. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in March of 2010.
Sasse says it is possible to repeal large portions of the ACA with only 51 votes. There are 52 Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
Sasse says the biggest aim for any replacement must be to bring down insurance costs while covering the most vulnerable.
“So, I want to repeal Obamacare and I want to replace Obamacare, but I want to replace Obamacare with something that has a smooth transition that doesn’t just throw people off the insurance they have, but gets them to a world where there’s the possibility that they’re going to have a portable, long-term insurance policy that they can afford.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]