House Republicans Unveil Obamacare Repeal Bill

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden released legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare Monday, which would effectively abolish the penalties linked to the individual and employer mandate and repeals Medicaid expansion by 2020.

The bill’s architects said it’s designed to give the powers back to the states, providing a Patient and State Stability Fund, which would allot $100 billion over the course of a decade to help stabilize the markets and provide funding for low-income Americans.

To incentivize those who don’t receive insurance through work to purchase coverage, a tax credit based on age would be provided for those looking to buy plans. Following concerns from the conservative wing of the party after the leak of a discussion draft of the bill, language was changed to prevent the credits from becoming an entitlement available to high-income brackets.

Purchasers under 30 would receive a $2,000 tax credit, $2,500 for those between 30-39, $3,000 the 40-49 age bracket, $3,500 for those between 50-59 and $4,000 for the over 60 bracket. Money left over would then be eligible to be put in a Health Savings Account (HSA) — the amount individuals are allowed to put in HSAs would also be increased under the proposal.

According to the bill summary, “the credits are additive for a family and capped at $14,000” and grow over time. The full credit is available for those making $75,000 per year or $150,000 for joint filers. It would then be phased out by $100 for every $1,000 in income above those thresholds.

Those who drop coverage for longer than 63 days would be subject to a 30 percent late-enrollment surcharge in addition to their base premium in an attempt to encouraged continued coverage.

The House Republicans’ American Health Care Act would block federal funding to Planned Parenthood, a major win for pro-life advocates.

A Community Health Center Fund would be put in place, which would award grants to Federally Qualified Health Centers.

Major changes would be made to Medicaid, providing the states with per capita allotment per enrollee, giving the states more flexibility to craft and administer their programs.

The bill phases out Medicaid expansion by Dec. 31, 2019, which would allow states to keep the enhanced match for new beneficiaries before 2020. After Jan. 1, states would only be able to enroll newly eligible individuals at their traditional Federal Medical Assistance Percentages.

The 19 states that chose not to expand Medicaid would be provided $10 billion over the course of five years to assist them during the transition period.

A number of Obamacare taxes would be repealed, including the Medical Device Tax and health insurance taxes, but the Cadillac tax would be restored after 10 years to comply with the Byrd Rule, allowing Republicans to pass the measure using budget reconciliation.

As promised by top Republicans, popular provisions including requiring insurers to cover preexisting conditions and allowing dependents to stay on their parents’ plans remain in tact.

Lawmakers are still waiting for the official scoring from the Congressional Budget Office to see what the projected costs will be.

The legislation is set to be marked up in both committees Wednesday.

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