House Republicans Fast Track Obamacare Repeal
By Brent Sailhamer
, Director of Government Affairs
Congressional Republicans rolled out comprehensive legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the capstone of the Obama administration. Introduced as a pair of legislative proposals, the alternative measure retools major components of the ACA, while Speaker Paul Ryan ensured that it would provide “every American access to quality, affordable health insurance.”
The legislation is scheduled for a vote by the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee this Wednesday. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), who chairs the powerful tax oversight body assured the press that the proposal would pass the Ways and Means Committee with solid Republican support, despite claims by more conservative lawmakers that the proposal did not do enough to rollback ACA.
Highlights of the Republican plan, dubbed the American Health Care Act, include:
- Repealing the individual mandate and providing refundable tax credits between $2,000 and $4,000 annually for the purchase of health insurance;
- Continuing to allow children and dependents under the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ healthcare plan;
- Maintaining protections for those with pre-existing conditions, but allows insurers to charge higher premiums (up to 30% higher) to those who let their coverage lapse;
- Repealing nearly every tax included in the ACA, including the medical device tax and health insurance tax; and
- Restructuring the current Medicaid program to eliminate entitlement provisions and provide states with block grant funding.
Despite skepticism among more conservative lawmakers, Republican leadership is confident in the legislation’s chances. Opponents claim the proposal was developed in secret with little input and will eliminate insurance coverage for millions of Americans.