Daines Supports 'Repeal and Delay' Approach To Obamacare

Jul 18, 2017

Montana Senator Steve Daines earlier this year.
Credit Jackie Yamanaka / YPR

Two years would be too long for an Affordable Care Act replacement plan, according to Montana Senator Steve Daines.

After the Senate’s attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act collapsed last night, Republicans came up with a different plan: repealing Obamacare and replacing it within the next two years. But that idea failed on Tuesday afternoon. 

In an interview with Yellowstone Public Radio Tuesday morning, Daines said he would support a bill repealing Obamacare, but he would want a replacement plan in action as soon as possible.

“I think two years is too long," he said. "I would say as soon as possible because we have to restore certainty right now into a very uncertain and unstable situation which is our current healthcare system.”

A similar ‘repeal and delay’ bill was passed by the House and Senate back in 2015, but it was vetoed by former President Barack Obama. Some Republicans were hoping to reintroduce that bill, repealing the ACA and spending the next two years working on a replacement plan. But earlier this afternoon, enough Senate Republicans came out against that plan to make it unfeasible.

Daines said it’s time for a little less talk and a little more action.

"What I’m frustrated about is the fact that the Senate cannot come together here and get something done," he said. "The American people are expecting results, they are expecting action.”

Last night, Daines, along with six other senators, were invited to have dinner with President Trump.

“We talked about possibly changing the rules of the Senate. Eliminating the filibuster requirement to go to a simple majority vote to get bills passed. We do that today now for the Supreme Court. Why not do that also for laws?” Daines said.

Some Republicans - including President Trump - argued ending the filibuster could make it easier to pass a ‘repeal and delay’ plan.

In a statement released today, Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester called repeal and delay “a disgusting attempt by Washington politicians to play politics with Montanans' lives by jacking up health care costs, kicking folks off their plans, and shutting down rural hospitals with no plan to increase access to health care or to lower costs."

Governor Steve Bullock had this to say about Senate leadership’s plans today:

"Just repealing and saying, ‘alright, we’ll figure it out somewhere down the road,’ I don’t think gives any more certainty to the insurance markets," Bullock said. "It certainly doesn’t give me any more certainty as the executive of this state in how we proceed. And for all those who have care, it doesn’t do any better either."

A 2015 report by the Congressional Budget Office said the repeal and delay plan could cause 18 million Americans to lose insurance in the first year, and premiums could rise by up to 25 percent.