The House Freedom Caucus is officially supporting South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s Obamacare replacement plan.
At a press conference introducing the proposed legislation Wednesday, the GOP lawmakers said they believe the legislation will expand access to care and bring down costs.
Conservatives advocated for repealing Obamacare quickly using a measure “at least as conservative” as the 2015 reconciliation bill, which was later vetoed by former President Barack Obama. HFC Chairman Mark Meadows said he believes the plan addresses the concerns his constituents have raised while remaining fiscally conservative.
“The House Freedom Caucus has taken an official position to support the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act and today takes the official position to actually support Gov. Sanford’s bill as a companion bill to the one Dr. Paul has introduced in the Senate,” he told reporters. “We’re excited about the fact that it will finally be able to address many of the concerns we’re hearing, whether it’s at town halls or personal calls or from out constituents about preexisting conditions, about how to empower the consumer in terms of their health care choice.”
Paul said if Congress is going to fully repeal the ACA as promised by Republicans, they need to replace it with something better.
“I’ve been a physician for over 20 years and there are problems in health care — some that even predate Obamacare, and we are concerned about how to provide the most amount of insurance at the least amount of cost — and that’s what our replacement plan does,” he said.
Sanford praised Paul for crafting the legislation, adding that he’s heard from Americans who are frustrated with the lack of control they have over their health coverage and sky-high costs since the ACA’s implimentation.
“I man you think about this notion of advancing the hallmark of the American experiment, it’s individual freedom and one of the places where we don’t have that right now is on health care,” he said.
Under the legislation, those with preexisting conditions would be given a two-year open enrollment period to get covered, and those who don’t purchase coverage during that window could then purchase coverage through a group market.
It includes a provision aimed at evening the playing field for those who don’t receive their coverage through their employer by providing a tax credit up to $5,000 for contributions made to their health savings accounts.
If enacted, the legislation would establish Independent Health Pools (IHPs), allowing individuals to pool together to purchase insurance plans. In addition, the Public Health Service Act would also be amended to allow individuals to pool together to obtain health benefits coverage through IHPs.
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