President Barack Obama has scheduled a meeting for next Wednesday with congressional Democrats to discuss saving The Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — from President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans who seek to repeal and replace it.
Obama's signature healthcare legislation has been criticized almost since its passage in 2010 as not providing affordable health coverage and, in fact, driving up the cost of premiums. It has also been fraught with technical difficulties and scandals suggesting the designers knew it would never work but had to implement it to get to the single-payer healthcare option.
Trump has vowed to repeal the law and called it a "disaster." He has also nominated vocal critic of the law Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to head the Department of Health and Human Services. This has led congressional Democrats to worry that their GOP colleagues will make good on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's call to make repealing and replacing Obamacare "step one" in the GOP agenda this year.
Obama's meeting comes just one day after Congress reconvenes, and the Democrats have already participated in a conference call to discuss protecting Obamacare and other entitlement programs, Fox News reports:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California, last week told fellow Democrats that they “stand ready to fight vigorously for America's hard-working families” against such efforts, including those by incoming Republican President Donald Trump, who has called ObamaCare a “disaster” and vowed, if elected, to repeal the 2010 law.
Pelosi also urged them to hold events to warn voters in their district about the GOP plans, including what she says is House Speaker Paul Ryan’s design to “privatize” Medicare, federally subsidized health insurance for seniors and the disabled.
GOP leaders have been open about the fact that a replacement plan for Obamacare could take two to four years to develop, and that repealing it right away could leave 22 million Americans without health insurance.
Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have also organized what they're calling a “Day of Action” on Jan. 15, five days before Trump’s inauguration "to highlight GOP efforts to cut or significantly change 'vital and necessary health programs,'" Fox News notes.