It’s titled the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Criticism of the original Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement plan took heavy hits from all sides after it was unveiled and sent to the committees charged with working on the bill and getting it ready for a vote of the full House of Representatives.
On Thursday of this week — maybe even by the time you read this — the House will have voted on the first phase of the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan and other supporters think the changes they’ve made will make it appealing and passable by all concerned.
Those changes were made to please the most conservative members of the Republican Party and to attempt to please Democrats and some Republicans who say the original proposal doesn’t do enough to take care of the poor and the elderly.
We start with the House Freedom Caucus and other staunch conservatives. They contend the bill doesn’t do enough to undo the Affordable Care Act’s seven-year reign. While many members of the caucus still oppose, what has been proposed, a lot of them won’t vote against the bill when it comes to the floor.
One reason is a decision to accelerate the expiration of ObamaCare taxes — which the original proposal did not do — and add restrictions to the Medicaid program. The taxes on higher earning Americans and on the medical industry will expire this year instead of 2018.
That is if the bill passes and makes it through the Senate intact.
The Medicaid changes will allow states to require able-bodied people to be working or in job training programs or do community service in order to take advantage of the Medicaid subsidies for insurance. Many hard-core conservatives hated ObamaCare and claim it gave 11 million able-bodied adults without children insurance.
To encourage the votes of moderates, the changes will allow the Senate to punch up the tax credits available to older Americans who the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts will see higher insurance premiums under the plan. The new plan adds an extra $85 billion for those between age 50 and 65 — or a $150 billion change overall.
Will this all work? Some more conservative members of the House don’t think so and even if they don’t vote against it, most — like the House Freedom Caucus — know the bill will face real tough times in the Senate.
All of the Democrats in the House and Senate are opposed to the repeal and replacement plan and the leader of the Republican opposition in the Senate is Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. He’s been working with the most conservative wing of the House and he and other Freedom Caucus members think the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate.
Paul said, “I believe that the real negotiation begins when we stop them.”
And he explained to Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly that, “It keeps the subsidies, keeps the taxes, keeps the mandate and actually has an insurance company bailout in it. We never have liked it, ObamaCare is a disaster ... But the only thing that’s really united us over time is repeal. And if ObamaCare lite is the replacement, conservatives aren’t going to accept it.”
As for President Trump? He said, “We're going to negotiate. And it's going to go to the Senate and back and forth and the end result is going to be wonderful and it's going to work great.”
The bottom-line says House Speaker Paul Ryan, “With the president’s leadership and support for this historic legislation, we are now one step closer to keeping our promise to the American people and ending the Obamacare nightmare.”
By the way, 12.2 million people signed up for ObamaCare in 2017 and that’s 1.6 million less than the 13.8 million the Obama administration predicted. And of those signing up, just 31% were new.
Of those signing up — the Trump administration says — 81% had their premiums reduced via a subsidy.
Source links: MSN, Fox News, CNN