The Republican Study Committee in the House of Representatives will unveil a health-care bill Wednesday to replace Obamacare.
The bill, titled the Republican Study Committee’s American Health Care Reform Act, “dramatically opens up options for families, and dramatically lowers costs” compared to the Obamacare law, committee chairman Louisiana Rep. Steven Scalise told The Daily Caller.
The 200-page budget-neutral bill would provide $20,000 in taxable-income deductions to families and a $7,500 deduction to individuals, so they can buy insurance from regulated vendors in any state. It would also would allow Americans to keep the money they save by picking lower-cost providers.
In an effort to contend with one of the more popular aspects of Obamacare, the Republican bill — which was drafted by a committee subgroup headed by Rep. Phil Roe, a doctor — would also create a 10-year, $25 billion fund to lower costs for Americans afflicted with pre-existing conditions such as cancer.
Additionally, it would let people carry their insurance with them from job to job, and cut wasteful legal costs by reforming medical lawsuits.
The bill transfers authority from Obamacare’s regulators to citizens because “we think people are smart enough and will find the best plan for their family,” Scalise said.
Via a reformed national health insurance market, Americans will be able to buy many of the provisions in Obamacare that are lauded by the White House, such as coverage for adult children up to age 26, he said. (DETAILS: Summary of Republican Study Committee’s alternative to Obamacare)
Overall costs will be controlled because government expenses are offset by savings, such as legal reform and an expected drop in medical prices, Scalise said. Instead of tax credits or subsidies, “we wanted to go with a straight deduction [from taxable income, because] it gives people more of an incentive to shop around,” he said.
The bill doesn’t set any changes to Medicare and Medicaid, Scalise said. However, those two programs will be aided by elements of the legislation, such as more marketplace competition and legal reform, he said.
The study committee is not a budget committee, but a group of almost 190 House legislators that are trying to advance “a conservative social and economic agenda in the House of Representatives.” The diverse group includes conservative Rep. Steve King and House budget chief Rep. Paul Ryan.
The sponsors hope to pass the bill through the House’s budget-writing committees via “regular order.”
The new bill is a partial refutation of claims by the White House that the GOP has abandoned plans to replace the controversial Obamacare regime.
Republicans “offer no alternative,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Sept. 16.
“They offer no hope of a better situation when it comes to healthcare for all those millions of Americans. They say, sorry, we’re going to take away those refunds, we’re going to take away the benefits that you’ve already enjoyed — all in the name of an ideological agenda,” he said.
“Our leadership has been reluctant to have a comprehensive alternative to Obamacare,” Scalise said.
“That’s been the situation for a number of years… once you say ‘This is what I’m for,’ somebody is ready to attack you for it,” he said, noting that Obamacare’s now-evident problems have provided the public with something to compare the GOP’s new bill against. (RELATED: House will vote on continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare)
The new bill’s features — especially the ability to buy insurance from out-of-state vendors — are popular among his constituents, Scalise said. Also, Americans will be able to reject insurance coverage currently mandated by federal regulators, he said.
“If sex changes operations are not something you want … if you want a barebones policy, [or] if you want a Cadillac plan,” Americans will be able to purchase what they prefer, Scalise said.