The Republican Study Committee rolled out its plan Wednesday to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Members of the committee shot down Democrats’ accusation Republicans lack direction when it comes to replacing the president’s landmark health-care legislation, saying the legislation will bring down costs and increase access to coverage.
“I heard again on the House floor when I was down there, just a few minutes ago, how Republicans have no ideas. That’s absolutely false,” Rep. Phil Roe, who introduced The American Health Care Reform Act of 2017, told reporters. “We have a plan — a 185-page plan.”
Roe, a Tennessee Republican and a physician, said the bill is intended to put the power back into the hands of patients and doctors instead of insurance companies and bureaucrats.
Under the legislation, consumers would be able to shop for plans across state lines, a sizable standard tax deduction would be put in place for those buying plans on the individual market, and federal support for state high-risk pools would be expanded.
The group asserted the plan would bring down premiums while preserving popular Obamacare provisions, such as the requirement for insurers to cover preexisting conditions.
“We realized and accepted in small group and the individual market preexisting conditions were actually already taken care of by rules and regulations that occurred and were passed back in the mid-70s,” Roe told reporters. “We’ll look for very high risk people, we fully fund the high-risk pools, which we had working in the state of Tennessee when Obamacare came along, which allow people in those pools — for instance I saw a lot of patients with breast cancer who at no fault of their own had very severe preexisting condition — to allow those folks to buy insurance at no more of an expensive rate than you could in that market.”
Roe said reforming the McCarran-Ferguson Act is also a critical component in fixing the health care system. The bill would restore federal antitrust laws to the business of health insurance, which the RSC says would protect consumers and competition.
RSC Chairman Mark Walker noted similar versions of the bill were popular in the 113th and the 114th Congress.
“Who better to start this process than a physician, who ran a successful medical practice career, who employed hundreds of medical professionals, and met and dealt and provided health care to thousands of patients,” he said at the press conference unveiling the bill.
The group has not yet set a timeline on when they would like to see the replacement put in place, but believes repealing Obamacare will provide some immediate relief while they are in the transition period. Roe said he didn’t create the perfect bill, adding he’s willing to work across the aisle on improvements to the legislation.
“I’m willing to listen to Democrats ideas to this bill, to amendments to this bill as opposed to what they did which was to completely shut the other side out,” he said.
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