(CNN) – With the confirmation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in the early hours of Friday morning, the Trump White House moves closer to rolling back the Affordable Care Act. Price, a staunch critic of the law, now has the administrative power to chip away at some aspects of it. But not all of it. CNN looks at where the GOP stands on their promise to repeal Obamacare.
President Trump, campaigned on making a long-time republican refrain, reality. “This election is about the people being crushed by Obamacare. Obamacare is a catastrophe. We will repeal and replace the horrible disaster known as Obamacare.”
So the GOP-controlled congress moved quickly toward making repeal, reality. On the day he took office, Trump signed an executive order directing agencies to start interpreting the law in a way that minimizes costs.
However, since then, republican lawmakers have alternated between “repeal and replace,” “repeal and delay” and “repeal and repair” even as the president exhibits little patience in other policy areas.
Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary said, “The President, I think, is very encouraged by the commitment and work that’s going on, on the Hill to make sure that we get this thing replaced as quick as possible.”
Republicans are finding that dismantling the complex law is a tall order with potentially, wide-reaching consequences, something democrats note often.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader said, “This is not just about the economics and the lowering costs and all the rest, and it’s not just about the 20 million people.”
The confirmation of Trump’s health and human services secretary, tom price, brings an opportunity to make some progress towards republican goals. Trump’s day one executive order gives secretary price leeway in interpreting the law’s regulations, and to chip away at it within legal boundaries, until congress makes its next moves.
Paul Ryan, House Speaker said, “We are going to be done legislating with respect to health care and Obamacare this year. The question is, how long does it take to implement the full replacement of Obamacare.
Both parts of the timeline may reveal rifts within the party, debates over speed, debates over what to keep from Obamacare, debates over just how much to gut and, especially, what to replace it with. Ryan hopes to move legislation as early as this spring.
Vice President Mike Pence has been a key liaison with hill republicans, bringing back status updates to the White House. However, even if the president indicates acceptance of a longer timeline, some republicans, lawmakers and constituents, may get restless.