GOP to let lawmakers, public see Obamacare replacement, but is it a full repeal and replace?

Failure of state-based exchanges illustrates the epic failure of Obamacare
Failure of state-based exchanges illustrates the epic failure of Obamacare

On Monday, CNN reported that Republican lawmakers will finally put forward a plan to scrap and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.  But is it a complete repeal that respects the states and the American people?  That remains to be seen.

According to CNN:

After years of attacking Democrats for Obamacare’s shortcomings and running dress rehearsals to repeal it, Republicans this week will finally lay down a specific and actionable plan to scrap the Affordable Care Act and face the praise — as well as the consequences.

“We’re working through the final details of this,” Rep. Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas and the House Ways and Means Chairman, told Fox News Saturday.

It’s taken years and five different congressional committees working in consultation to repeal Obamacare, but House Republicans are expected to take up legislation in committee for mark-up as early as Wednesday, according to aides and committee members. Since it’s the first time most lawmakers and the public will actually see the bill, it’s also the most significant test to see that the legislation can at the very least survive early flogging from all sides.

Republicans will likely unveil the bill with no final score from the Congressional Budget Office, aides say, noting that they’ve been consulting with CBO throughout the process so they have a good sense of how it may score. It’s that very score, however, and the number of people the bill is estimated to cover, that has caused some heartburn for the GOP. While Republicans had long argued their plan would give consumers more flexibility, the reality is that the GOP replacement was not necessarily designed to cover more people than the Affordable Care Act did. The CBO score is expected to reflect that reality, which is part of the reason it is not expected to be part of the bill’s initial unveiling.

So far, it doesn’t sound like a full repeal and replace.  The report goes on to say:

Meanwhile, a big obstacle to winning conservative support has been the issue of tax credits and how to structure them. While Ryan and Price’s plans both included refundable tax credits in the past, conservatives like Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, have dismissed them as little more than “Obamacare lite.”

“Obamacare lite” is not what Republican voters were promised since the ACA was passed.  Nor will it pass muster with conservative voters who gave Republicans control of the House, the Senate and the White House — partly on promises the massive law would be repealed.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation notes:

The failure of Obamacare presents an opportunity for President Trump to move quickly away from Washington, D.C.-centered “solutions” to healthcare.  The starting point of any healthcare policy must be this: D.C.’s ideas don’t work.

For starters, the group says, Obamacare must be fully repealed as promised.  Not 85 percent repealed, but 100 percent.

Secondly, the group says Congress must respect the people enough to let them take charge of their own healthcare and respect the states enough to let them manage their own Medicaid and safety-net programs.

There are three overarching principles to any healthcare legislation, the organization said.

1.  Fully repeal Obamacare — every last word — as lawmakers have repeatedly promised.

2.  Let individuals make their own decisions and get government out of the way.  The TPP Foundation said that by a 13-point margin, American voters prefer a law that would lower costs, but not guarantee coverage for every American, to a law that would guarantee coverage for every American but raise health care costs.  Is anyone in Congress listening?

3.  Practice federalism, and let states come up with programs and plans that work for them.  States used to have that role, but Obamacare moved all that to Washington, D.C.

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Instead of micro-managing process from Washington, lawmakers should focus on outcomes and let states do the heavy-lifting for their own people.

“Our nation’s health care system contains many moving parts — one reason why Congress should not attempt to re-construct the health system from Washington, D.C. Instead, lawmakers should focus on the policies rightly within the federal sphere, and give states the tools they need to make reforms within their sphere. This rubric would restore liberty, begin stemming the tide of rising health costs, and allow the American health system to recover from the Obamacare disaster,” TPPF said.


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