House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that Republicans could repeal Obamacare before finding a replacement for it, according to the Hill.
“I don’t think you have to wait,” McCarthy told reporters. “My personal belief, and nothing’s been decided yet, but I would move through and repeal and then go to work on replacing.”
But healthcare experts, including some Republicans, say this approach could cause chaos for Obamacare enrollees and the insurance market during that period of time between the repeal of the law and when a replacement is found.
McCarthy and others have called for a transition period where Obamacare would be phased out gradually over a period of two years or another specified period of time after a repeal of the law is passed.
Even so, critics have said that insurers could leave the system once they know the law is being phased out, leaving no options for those enrolled in Obamacare for 2018.
Insurers have already left the exchanges in some states, leaving people with only one insurer to choose from when purchasing plans on the exchange.
The task of repealing and replacing Obamacare at the same time, however, could prove difficult for Republicans.
They need just 50 votes in the Senate to repeal the core of the healthcare law, but they need 60 votes in the Senate to pass a replacement to the law, which means the replacement would have to have support from Democrats as well as Republicans.
McCarthy said that if the repeal goes through first, it would increase pressure on Democrats to get the 60 votes for a replacement for the law.
He added that Democrats would be to blame if no replacement winds up getting passed because of a failure to gain 60 votes in the Senate.
“When that day came and you did nothing, if you want to play politics, I think the blame would go to people who didn’t want to do anything,” McCarthy said.