President Trump in an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly on Sunday said a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) might not be ready until next year—a considerably longer timetable than he and some other Republican leaders have offered in the past.
Trump during a press conference last month pledged quick action on repealing and replacing the ACA. He said, "We're going to be submitting as soon as our [HHS] secretary is approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan" to reform health care. And last month, Trump signed an executive order that authorized HHS to begin rolling back parts of the ACA.
Separately, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week said he will move ACA repeal legislation by the end of March. But according to the New York Times, some Republicans are concerned about the consequences of advancing repeal legislation without a replacement plan in place. Trump last month said he wouldn't support a long delay between when the ACA is repealed and when a replacement plan is implemented.
On Sunday, when asked by O'Reilly whether U.S. residents could "expect a new health care plan rolled out by the Trump administration this year," Trump replied, "Maybe it'll take till sometime into next year, but we're certainly going to be in the process."
"It statutorily takes a long time," Trump added. "We're going to be putting it in fairly soon, I think that, yes, I would like to say by the end of the year at least the rudiments but we should have something within the year and the following year."
If Trump continues to support repealing and replacing the ACA "essentially simultaneously," as he's said in the past, pushing the replacement into 2018 could mean delaying the passage of repeal legislation as well, according to The Hill.
However, as David Nather in Axios' "Vitals" noted, "Trump doesn't control the schedule in Congress," so Ryan and other GOP leaders could continue to press for legislation to repeal and replace parts of the law this spring. Congress last month approved a budget resolution that initiated the process for Republicans to repeal the ACA through the budget reconciliation process.
While Trump on Sunday acknowledged that replacing the ACA is challenging, he voiced confidence that his administration could develop a better plan, the Times reports. But according to the Times, Trump has "provided few details of how such a plan would work."
Trump said, "You have to remember Obamacare doesn't work, so we are putting in a wonderful plan" (Landler, New York Times, 2/5; Palmeri, Politico, 2/5; Sullivan, The Hill, 2/5; Nather, "Vitals," Axios, 2/6).
Navigating the first 100 days of the Trump administration
Since Donald Trump won the presidential election in November, health care reform has since quickly risen to the top of the GOP's policy agenda—and heath care executives are grappling with a new sense of uncertainty.
While many unknowns will remain across the next few months and potentially even years, the first 100 days of the Trump administration will provide significant insight into the direction of reform efforts. Read our briefing to learn what five key issues you should watch.