A key lawmaker working on an Obamacare replacement insisted Thursday that the healthcare law will be repealed, despite widening skepticism among even Republicans.
"Yeah, it's gonna happen," Rep. Mike Burgess, R-Texas, said at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday afternoon.
But Burgess didn't have an answer when pressed on when Congress will vote to repeal and replace the healthcare law — although he did say it will happen before the next CPAC.
"We will get it done," he responded simply.
Burgess heads the health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of two House committees working on a replacement to the healthcare law. The plan is to use a budget reconciliation bill to repeal and replace much of the law, but Republicans are still struggling to nail down its details and ensure it will have enough GOP support to pass.
President Trump has promised he will roll out an Obamacare alternative next month, and House Speaker Paul Ryan plans to hold committee markups on the plan, too.
But there's broad skepticism that Republicans will be able to rally around one plan. Former House Speaker John Boehner predicted Thursday that repeal and replace is "not going to happen."
And some conservatives are worried that much of the law will remain on the books, as Congress is unable to fully repeal the law using the reconcilation bill as a vehicle. Burgess stressed that other parts of the law can be rolled back through administrative changes, saying he sees a repeal bill as just the "opening act to take Obamacare out."
Another key question is how many Americans would have access to health insurance under a GOP replacement. Burgess said he's OK if the uninsured rate creeps up as long as the individual mandate to buy coverage is eliminated.
"We're not going to send an IRS agent down to chase you down and make you buy health insurance, so if the numbers drop, I'd say that is a good thing because we've restored personal liberty, and I'm always for that," Burgess said.