WASHINGTON, D.C. (WVEC)--The 115th Congress gaveled into session Tuesday, and for Hampton Roads, it means big changes as far as representation, with more than two decades' worth of experience now gone, with the departures of Scott Rigell and Randy Forbes.
Today, two freshmen, Democrat Donald McEachin and Republican Scott Taylor, took their place. As for the bigger picture, job one for the Republican-controlled legislature is the GOP's long-stated goal of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. But, it might not be as easy as it sounds.
Old Dominion University political science professor Jesse Richman says it will take time to completely overhaul the ACA, and deal with the more than 20 million Americans now insured under the Act, and, the 27 percent of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions who cannot be denied coverage by insurance companies.
"This is a very complex law and you're talking about a large, large section of the U.S. economy," he said. "Repealing some pieces will create chain reactions that cause big problems, big budget problems for example."
President-elect Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and House GOP leaders do favor keeping some elements of the ACA including a requirement that insurers cover existing conditions and one that allows children to stay on their parents' health care plans until they turn 26.
Democrats are digging in, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying, "We will not be accomplices in the breaking up and dismantling of affordable health care."