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Senator Collins Introduces Amendment Providing Additional Time to Develop Obamacare Replacement that Would Protect Americans from Losing Health Insurance

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), Rob Portman (R-OH), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today introduced an amendment to extend the deadline for budget reconciliation instructions from January 27, 2017, to March 3, 2017. The additional time would allow Congress and the Administration to develop a serious replacement to Obamacare that would protect Americans from losing their health insurance coverage and avoid turmoil in the insurance industry.

“In an ideal situation, we would repeal and replace Obamacare simultaneously, but we need to make sure that we have at least a detailed framework that tells the American people what direction we're headed,” said Senator Collins. “Repeal and replacement is a complicated task, and my number one concern is that we not create a gap in coverage for individuals who are currently insured and who rely on that coverage. By providing more time to come up with legislative solutions, we have a better opportunity to produce a thoughtful, workable replacement that ensures Americans have access to affordable, diverse insurance plans that meet their needs.”

Title II of the 2017 budget resolution instructs House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to report out legislation that would reduce the budget deficit by at least $1 billion each over the next ten years. The resulting reconciliation legislation is expected to include language to repeal the ACA and is due no later than January 27, 2017. In addition, if confirmed, President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Health and Human Services Administration, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), will not assume his post until January 20th at the earliest, a mere seven days before the deadline for reconciliation legislation.

The amendment would push back this deadline until Friday, March 3, 2017, allowing Congress time to carefully consider a replacement to Obamacare prior to repealing the law. In addition, the extension would provide the incoming secretary adequate time to review what the Trump administration can repeal and replace administratively versus legislatively.

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