Republicans came out in droves on Tuesday to criticize the long awaited Republican bill to replace Obamacare, calling it nothing more than a revamped version of the previous administration’s answer to socialized medicine.
“This is Obamacare by a different form. They’re still keeping the taxes in place and Medicaid expansion, and they’re starting a new entitlement,” said former House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, who said he will refuse to support Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act.
Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA) said that he too will vote against the bill in its current form.
“The bill maintains many of the federal features including a new entitlement program as well as most of the insurance regulations”, said Brat. “Now [they] are saying we’re going to do repeal and replace but the bill does nothing of the sort. [Speaker] Paul Ryan has always said the entire rationale for this bill is to bend the cost curve down, and so far I have seen no evidence that this bill will bring the cost curve down.”
A Republican Study Caucus memo obtained by Politico (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/obamacare-repeal-conservatives-235753) blasted Ryan’s bill stating: “This is a Republican welfare entitlement. Writing checks to individuals to purchase insurance is, in principle, Obamacare. It does allow more choices for individuals, and is more patient-centered, but is fundamentally grounded on the idea that the federal government should fund insurance purchases.”
In an opinion piece co-written by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/06/senator-paul-rep-meadows-lets-fully-repeal-obamacare-then-have-open-debate-on-how-to-replace-it.html), the two leaders wrote that many Republican want to support the program but feel there is still a great deal of work to do before that can happen.
Portions of the bill that Paul and Meadows feel are salvageable include:
1.) Leadership wants to keep Obamacare-like subsidies to buy insurance but rename them refundable tax credits (families will be given up to $14,000 dollars of other people’s money).
2.) Leadership wants to keep the Obamacare Cadillac tax but rename it a tax on the top 10% of people who have the best insurance.
3.) Leadership wants to keep the individual mandate but instead of mandating a tax penalty to the government they mandate a penalty to the insurance company (can it possibly be Constitutional to mandate a penalty to a private insurance company?)
4.) Leadership wants to keep $100 billion of the insurance company subsidies from Obamacare but call them “reinsurance.” (Why? Because insurance companies love guaranteed issue as long as the taxpayer finances it!)
The pair say they will fight to introduce their own, more conservative vision of the bill before Congress. “If anyone tells you there isn’t a plan that can both keep our promises to repeal, and work in a bipartisan, open way for replace, tell them conservatives have a plan to do just that. Now let’s hope our leadership will listen, because it is the only way they’re going to get our votes,” said Paul.
Governor Paul LePage (R-ME) echoed his fellow Republicans’ sentiments on the bill submitted by Ryan, saying that he is “very, very discouraged and disappointed,” by the House Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Basically it’s not much better than—in fact, I don’t know, they haven’t scored it yet, so we don’t know what the cost is,” said LePage. “But based on what I see and I’m reading and what has happened here in Maine over the last 15 years, I don’t think it’s an improvement.”