Year in review: ACA repeal efforts

The Healthcare.gov website is seen on a computer screen Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Washington. The Trump administration says consumers can start previewing plans and premiums online for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in 2018. Open enrollment starts Nov. 1. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Republicans on Capitol Hill spent much of 2017 debating ways to repeal and replace the controversial Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the ACA or Obamacare.

“There’s been enough talk, and no action,” said Pres. Donald Trump, who promised to repeal and replace the ACA during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, which is what it is,” he said.

Despite Republicans in control of the House, Senate and White House, no repeal effort was successful.

Some Republicans said they were uncomfortable with how fast a replacement was being pushed through without proper vetting.

“I don’t think that’s a good approach to facing legislation that affects millions of people and 1/6th of our economy,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Other Republicans refused to vote for repeal efforts unless they fully repealed Obamacare.

“The problem is Republicans can’t seem to agree on what replacement means,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).

One of the last efforts to repeal and replace came in the form of the Graham-Cassidy bill. One of the more controversial parts of it included taking money away from Medicaid, and giving it to states to use how they saw fit in healthcare.

“They see this as the ability to implement change that is tailored to their state,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R- Louisiana).

However, after that failed, it was time for open enrollment to begin for the ACA. Despite shortening the enrollment period from 90 days to 45, and cutting funding for advertisement and enrollment counselors, 2.8 million people signed up for healthcare in December, up 33 percent from December 2016.

“We find that when they see us and we help them, they get a really good deal,” said Cheryl Hallock with Access East.

Republicans say they are committed to repealing and replacing the ACA in 2018.

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