GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — The Republican-led Congress is one step closer to replacing the Affordable Care Act.
Friday afternoon, the house passed a budget measure that prevents Democrats from using a Senate filibuster to derail a bill that would repeal and replace the law.
It’s a crucial measure because Republicans have a majority in the Senate, but they don’t have enough votes to end a filibuster. Now that the measure has passed, Republicans need to decide which parts of the Affordable Care Act they want to repeal and what they want to replace it with.
“In Wisconsin, people getting insurance on an individual market have seen their premiums double and triple,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin).
High premiums is a big part of why republicans in congress have made it a priority to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but Johnson said the term ‘repeal’ isn’t necessarily accurate.
“You know, ‘repeal and replace’ was a good term prior to the implementation. I mea,n the time to really repeal it was before implementation in 2012’s election, but that didn’t happen,” said Johnson.
Johnson said what Republicans really want to do is replace and repair it, meaning they won’t pull the entire plan, just the parts they don’t think are working.
“I think our first responsibility is repair that damage and work with the other side. Provide the facts and figures and let’s say, ‘Look at this, look at the complexity.’ I am a business guy, been in manufacturing, solved a lot of problems and it starts with information,” said Johnson.
But information is exactly what Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) said she doesn’t have.
“There are criteria that we kept in mind as we put the ACA together. It’s increasing access, making sure there’s quality healthcare and that it’s affordable. Right now what they are doing is putting people’s lives and well-being in jeopardy with no alternative, no alternative that we can even discuss or analyze according to those criteria,” said Baldwin.
In the wake of the bill passing Friday afternoon, millions of Americans are wondering what that means for the healthcare plans they signed up for this year using the Affordable Care Act.
Bellin Health’s executive vice president Jim Dietsche said the inability to answer people’s concerns about the future is their biggest issue right now.
“We are not going to know that until at least most likely this summer,” said Dietsche.
In the meantime, Dietsche said Americans should get signed up for health care now because any policy changes won’t take effect until at least 2018.
“There will be a road map at some point in time and there will be more information. we just have to do a good job as providers with insurance companies to communicate that to individuals because it’s a very complex issue,” said Dietsche.
The deadline to sign up for health care in the federal marketplace is January 31.