>> We're gonna start out by repealing Obamacare.>> It's been their dreams for years, but now Republicans are starting to confront the reality that repealing Obamacare may mean chaos for the US health system. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where Republicans are finally in a position to repeal President Barrack Obama's signature healthcare reforms.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell saying, he'll have a repeal bill on Donald Trump's desk shortly after he takes office on January 20th. That's the easy part. It's gonna be a lot harder for Republicans to deliver on their promise of replacing Obamacare with something better while avoiding a healthcare calamity in the process.
As the glow of victory fades, the Republicans who control Congress face the immediate problem that simply gutting Obama's Affordable Care Act would leave more than 20 million Americans without coverage. Fault lines already appearing on Capitol Hill. Republican leaders, like Senator John Cornyn of Texas, say that even after they repeal the law they may need to keep it in place temporarily for up to three more years, to give providers and patients time to adjust.
But hardline conservatives, like the House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, pushing House Speaker Paul Ryan for a much shorter transition, as little as six months. They also have to figure out what comes next. While republicans have voted more than 60 times to repeal Obamacare, they've never settled on a replacement.
After meeting with President Obama, Trump said he'd like to keep parts of the law, such as covering children on a parent's plan until they're 26. But healthcare providers are certain to scream if Republicans scrap other parts that have given them 22 million new customers. Hospitals warning that repeal could lead to a surge of uninsured customers that could cost them a staggering $165 billion over the next 10 years.
There's another risk factor as well, with Obamacare out of the picture, voters may now hold Republicans responsible for rising cost, spotty coverage, and other unsatisfactory aspects of the US healthcare system. Like that dog that finally catches the car after years of trying, Republicans may find that success comes with its own set of problems.