Conservatives have already come out swinging against the Republican leadership’s newly released bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Republican Rep. Justin Amash led the pack, tweeting that the package was “Obamacare 2.0” just after the bill was released on Monday evening. (RELATED: House republicans Unveil Obamacare Repeal Bill)
Obamacare 2.0 https://t.co/p0zKkMD3UT
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 6, 2017
Other typically conservative members of Congress and a slew of conservative organizations in Washington have criticized the bill as well.
Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told CNN the current bill looks similar to previous drafts the conservative wing of the House had opposed.
“I don’t see any significant changes here,” Jordan told CNN. “It’s significantly the same thing to me so it sort of doesn’t change my position, but we’ll talk to our guys tomorrow night.”
“My guess is this bill looks a lot like the last one, and we didn’t like the last one,” Jordan said. He criticized the legislation’s tax credits for health coverage, the retention of Obamacare’s taxes and Medicaid expansion changes.
“We put on President Obama’s desk a bill that got rid of all the taxes and … a Republican Congress is going to put on a Republican president’s desk a bill that keeps taxes in place?” Jordan asked.
Conservatives are most irked by provisions that offer tax credits for purchasing health insurance based on age and provisions which keep the “Cadillac tax” from Obamacare that adds a 40 percent excise tax on high-dollar health plans. The “Cadillac tax” also adds a 30 percent premium surcharge on those who go without coverage for 63 days, which takes the place of the individual mandate.
The bill would also make changes to Medicaid. It would phase out the Medicaid expansion of Obamacare by Dec. 31, 2019, but continue Obamacare’s enhanced federal funding to states for all those who maintain continuous coverage after that. After 2020, states would only receive traditional Medicaid funding for new participants.
A wide range of conservative groups, several of which have started a campaign in favor of a full repeal of Obamacare, have also called the new bill another version of Obamacare. FreedomWorks said the bill is “Obamacare-lite,” while Freedom Partners and Americans for Prosperity referred to it as “Obamacare 2.0” in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“The bill currently under consideration in the House does not repeal the elements that made Obamacare so devastating to American families, and we cannot support it,” the two organizations wrote. “Passing it would be making the same mistake that President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi made in 2010.”
“In many ways, the House Republican proposal released last night not only accepts the flawed progressive premises of Obamacare but expands upon them,” Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham said in a statement. “Many Americans seeking health insurance on the individual market will notice no significant difference” between Obamacare and the GOP plan.
“It creates a new entitlement through the refundable tax credits. It allows insurance companies to assess a 30 percent penalty on those who don’t keep continuous coverage for 63 days, which is an individual mandate by another name,” said Jason Pye, FreedomWorks director of public policy and legislative affairs. “We’re 100 percent behind the efforts of Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and the House Freedom Caucus to bring real patient-centered alternatives to replace Obamacare.”
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who’s been vocal about his opposition to the previous drafts from House leadership, made his distaste for the bill clear in a series of tweets Tuesday morning.
The House leadership Obamacare Lite plan has many problems. We should be stopping mandates, taxes and entitlements not keeping them.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
Paul castigated the bill for retaining several of Obamacare’s prominent features and was dissatisfied with the plan’s changes to the individual mandate. He also maintained that the plan “keeps Obamacare subsidies but renames them ‘refundable credits.'”
House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady dismissed criticisms that the bill retains too much of Obamacare Monday night, arguing that the Republican plan repeals taxes, mandates and subsidies instituted by Obamacare. (VIDEO: Kevin Brady On Reconciliation Bill: This Is ‘Obamacare Gone,’ Not ‘Obamacare Lite’)
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