President Donald Trump has been insistent that one of his top domestic priorities is repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. He has said he is nearly done crafting a new health care plan to replace President Barack Obama’s coverage expansion that will provide “insurance for everybody.”
This made it all the more notable that there was no mention of health care or Obamacare anywhere in his inaugural address or on the newly launched White House.gov. The website already has a number of policy statements. Health care is not included.
Democrats, meanwhile, used the inauguration as a moment to defend the health care law. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other legislators wore blue buttons with the #ProtectOurCare hashtag.
During the campaign, Trump promised to “ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.” So it’s notable that he did not use his most high-profile moment of the day to talk about his plans to eliminate the health care law. It may speak to some of the struggles that Republicans currently face in agreeing on what will come next, after the Affordable Care Act, and whether they will be able to commit to maintaining coverage for the 20 million Americans who use the insurance expansion right now.
I don’t take Trump’s lack of discussion about health care as a sign that Republicans are backing off of Obamacare repeal. Instead, it suggests to me that unraveling a law so big, covering millions of people, is going to be much more challenging than they expected.