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On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), saying that he hopes to see Congress repeal it as soon as possible and pass a replacement health law. 

Trump moves to repeal Obamacare swiftly—within days—and have a replacement very shortly thereafter. "Long to me would be weeks," Trump said, aiming to replace a health law that took approximately two years to pass in a matter of weeks. 

“We have to get to business,” Trump told The New York Times. “Obamacare has been a catastrophic event.”

According to Time magazine:

While many middle- and low-income Americans get some or all of their insurance premiums subsidized by the government, people who are insured through their employers must rely on their companies to pay some of the bill. And the amounts for premiums paid by both employers and employees have risen substantially over the years.

In 2008, the average employer-sponsored family plan cost a total of $12,680, with employees footing $3,354 of the bill, according to Kaiser data. By 2016, the cost of the average employer family plan was up to $18,142 for the year, with workers picking up $5,277 of the tab.

Trump, however, was unclear about the exact timing of the repeal, stating the vote would "probably be some time next week" and a replacement “very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter.”

Republican leaders, according to The New York Times, have made the repeal a top priority, adding that they "hope that the Senate will vote on Thursday and the House will vote on Friday to approve parliamentary language created to protect repeal legislation from a filibuster in the Senate."

At the moment, Republicans have yet to agree on the details of the alternative to the ACA, though they intend to "bring it all together concurrently," according to Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

“In an ideal situation, we would repeal and replace Obamacare simultaneously, but we need to make sure that we have at least a detailed framework that tells the American people what direction we’re headed,” said Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

According to NBC News, "[w]hile the repeal effort is scheduled to be complete by the end of January, if all goes according to plan, Republican leaders have said replacement could take much longer, possibly months or even years."

So what does all of this mean for the next steps in the near future?

Huffington Post details the procedure as follows:

  1. Congress passes a budget resolution
  2. The House and Senate vote on the legislation, work out the details, and send the bill to the White House
  3. Trump signs the legislation

The budget resolution, the first step, is supposed to pass this week and calls for all of the work by the committee to be finished by January 27. 

And, as drug price increases go hand-in-hand with the rising costs under the ACA, pharmaceutical companies also hold their breath as to what this potential outcome could mean for the industry. 

Lead image photo credit: Gage Skidmore.

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