President-elect Donald J. Trump pressed Republicans on Tuesday to move forward with the immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act and to replace it very quickly thereafter, saying, “We have to get to business. Obamacare has been a catastrophic event.”
Mr. Trump’s position undercuts Republican leaders who want a quick vote to repeal President Obama’s signature domestic achievement but who also want to wait as long as two to three years to come up with an alternative. But he was also challenging the resolve of nervous Republicans in Congress who do not want any vote on a repeal until that replacement exists.
Mr. Trump, who seemed unclear about the timing of already scheduled votes in Congress this week, demanded a repeal vote “probably some time next week,” and said “the replace will be very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter.”
That demand is very likely impossible. Republicans in Congress are nowhere close to agreement on a major health bill that would replace President Obama’s signature domestic achievement. A number of Republicans in the House and Senate have said publicly that they wanted to hold off on voting to eviscerate the health law until a replacement measure could be negotiated.
For now, the Senate is planning to vote Thursday morning on a budget resolution that would set up parliamentary protections for a health care repeal bill that would have to emerge from House and Senate committees by Jan. 27. The House would vote on Friday if that budget measure clears the Senate.
That plan is under pressure from Republicans who want to slow the process as they struggle for an agreement on what would follow repeal.
But Mr. Trump said there was no cause for delay. And he said he would not accept a delay of more than a few weeks before a replacement plan was voted on. “Long to me would be weeks,” he said. “It won’t be repeal and then two years later go in with another plan.” That directly contradicts House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s plans.