McCarthy On Obamacare Repeal: Rand Paul’s Plan Is ‘Obamacare Plus’

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the House GOP’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare is more conservative than the replacement plan put forward by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Paul has been vocal about his issues with the leadership-backed plan, referring to the measure as “Obamacare lite.” Conservatives in both chambers have been hesitant about a number of provisions relating to its language on individual tax credits they feel creates a new entitlement program.

Despite the concerns, GOP House leadership is confident enough conservatives will come to support the bill that they will be able to get the 218 votes needed for it pass the legislation.

“It’s a conservative bill, the more they learn about it the more likely they’re going to be a part of it,” McCarthy told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And I think as President Trump goes out there and explains more of it, you’ll see it continue to grow.”

The architects of the American Health Care Act note the legislation is the first of a three-part agenda to repeal and replace former-President Barack Obama’s landmark health-care legislation. The second leg includes using the executive branch’s power to repeal ACA regulations while the third includes additional measures they can’t add to the reconciliation bill due to Senate rules.

Proponents of the legislation argue it gets rid of all the unpopular parts of Affordable Care Act — including the individual and employer, mandates, the Obamacare taxes, Medicaid expansion and federal funding allocated to Planned Parenthood — while providing a refundable, advanceable tax credit based on age, allowing those who aren’t covered by their employer to purchase insurance.

“I just don’t see how Rand Paul’s bill works, if you look at what he has in it, look at the expense,” McCarthy said, citing a recent Forbes article slamming Paul’s provision on tax credits. “They say that’s Obamacare plus — so the conservative bill is the one we’re bringing forward.”

Paul said the criticisms that his plan resembles the Affordable Care Act are just rank partisanship, adding he is for a clean repeal. While his plan also repeals the Obamacare taxes and eliminates the mandates, it has some key differences — including its language on tax credits.

“Ours are tax credits that you get back your own money, but you can’t get someone else’s money,” he told TheDCNF. “So if you get back more of your own money that’s a tax cut — if you get back somebody else’s money. I think that’s an entitlement program.”

Paul also railed against language in the House plan calling for a 30 percent increase in premiums if coverage is dropped, arguing it’s a mandate that goes to insurance companies instead of the government.

South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, who introduced a companion bill to Paul’s in the House, said he would like to see a comparison of CBO scores to see which makes the most sense financially.

“I’d love to field test that idea. I believe mathematically on a credit versus deduct the the numbers are going to be overwhelmingly different from a growing standpoint — but let’s test it,” he said.

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