Now that the GOP has succeeded in its long-standing goal of repealing Obamacare in Congress, they are pledging to finally confront the difficult task of producing a Republican-backed replacement.
A GOP health insurance reform plan has eluded the House and Senate for years, but 2016 will be different, leaders are promising.
"Just wait," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., challenged a reporter on Wednesday when asked about the party's alternative.
House and Senate Republicans are eager to prove Democrats are wrong when they say the GOP doesn't have an Obamacare backup plan, and that millions of people will be left without insurance if Obamacare is ever repealed. A House committee met this week to generate ideas, and the joint GOP House and Senate retreat in Baltimore next week will put the replacement of Obamacare at the top of the agenda.
Passing the repeal bill on Wednesday, Ryan said, "clears the path to repealing this law with a Republican president in 2017 and replacing it with a truly patient-centered health care system."
Efforts have stalled until now, however.
A trio of committee chairman were tasked last June with finding a replacement to the health care law. The group included Ryan, who was then chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, as well as Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn.
Apparently not much came of that effort. Kline said Wednesday the ideas the group drafted ended up "in a drawer."
But 2016 brings a new sense of urgency. Ryan has "put us on notice," Upton said, to come up with a plan.
Ryan told reporters recently that even if the Obama never signs the GOP replacement into law, he wants voters to see the GOP alternative ahead of the November election.
A group of Republicans on the Energy Committee met on Wednesday to jump start the planning and will meet again on Thursday.
"We are going to show our hand of what would happen if we have the White House," Upton said. "Whether we have a floor vote, or whether we lay out principles, people are going to know where we stand. And we need to do that."
Upton said a "starting point," in his view, would be a proposal he offered last year with Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. That plan embraces many popular GOP alternatives to Obamacare, including tax credits for purchasing health insurance allowing people to buy plans across state lines.
"It's more competition, more choices," Upton said. "Let the individuals decide."
Democrats aren't convinced the Republican alternative is coming. They argued Wednesday that the GOP has put forward 62 bills to repeal the health care law since it was enacted, but have not allowed debate on a comprehensive replacement.
"We have been waiting five years for you to bring that to the floor and let us have a vote on it, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., told the GOP Wednesday. "There is no plan you are willing to bring to the floor because you don't care about Americans and their health security."