Speed Reads

ObamaCare repeal and....?

Joe Biden dares Republicans on ObamaCare: 'Go ahead, repeal it'

As the 115th Congress gavels into session Tuesday, one of the Republican Party's first orders of business will be beginning the process of dismembering the Affordable Care Act, the overhaul of the U.S. health care system crafted by Democrats in 2009 and 2010, with no public GOP plan to replace it. President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will meet Wednesday with their respective parties on Capitol Hill to discuss ObamaCare strategy, but on Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Republicans that if they repeal ObamaCare, they should be prepared for the fallout on their own. "It's the old thing of going into a china shop," she said: "You break it, you own it."

On CNN, Vice President Joe Biden had a similar message for Republicans, delivered in a very Joe Biden way. "I love these guys," he told Jake Tapper. "'We ran against the Affordable Care Act, how terrible it is, how premiums went up, we're going to repeal it!' Go ahead, repeal it. Repeal it now. See what happens. The idea that all of a sudden they can go back and start charging women more than men, pre-existing conditions don't matter." Obama and the Democrats "knew we had to improve the Affordable Care Act, knew from the beginning — we were looking for a partner," Biden said, using Social Security as an example of a program that was expanded and improved with bipartisan consensus.

In the Senate, Republicans are expected to rely on a procedure called budget reconciliation that will allow them to gut large portions of ObamaCare with just 51 votes, meaning they can lose two Republicans and still push the measure through. GOP leaders in the Senate are in favor of a lost "offramp" that would give them two years to come up with a replacement plan, but on Monday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) warned against a "repeal and delay" plan or a "partial repeal" of the bill. "If Congress fails to vote on a replacement at the same time as repeal, the repealers risk assuming the blame for the continued unraveling of ObamaCare," he wrote at Rare. "Partial repeal of ObamaCare will likely win the day, but when the insurance companies come to Washington crying for a bailout don't say that no one warned of this preventable disaster."