President Donald Trump said the process for coming up with a replacement for the Affordable Care Act could stretch into 2018, a longer time frame than he previously indicated.
Trump’s comments came in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that aired on Sunday during the Super Bowl pre-game show. O’Reilly asked the president whether he would introduce a health plan this year to replace Obamacare, which Trump has vowed to repeal.
“Maybe it’ll take till some time into next year, but we are certainly going to be in the process,” Trump said in the interview. “I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year.”
Trump said in January that he’d put forward his plans for replacing the law, also called Obamacare, once Tom Price, his pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services, is confirmed.
“We’re going to be submitting, as soon as our secretary is approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan,” Trump said at a Jan. 11 press conference. “It’ll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously.”
Republican lawmakers are working to figure out how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, after seven years of calling for Barack Obama’s health law to be scuttled. Congress held several hearings last week on aspects of the law, while insurers have pressed for certainty so they can draw up business plans for next year.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s health panel examined drafts of four bills on Thursday that could serve as a basis for some of the earliest moves by Republicans to replace pieces of the law.
Meanwhile, insurance industry representatives told a Senate panel that they need to know the rules for 2018 during the next few months or they may not be able to offer Obamacare plans for 2018.
In the interview with O’Reilly that aired Sunday, Trump said little about his plans to replace Obamacare. He said though that the health law is a “disaster” and “doesn’t work.”
“We are putting in a wonderful plan,” Trump said.