McCarthy: Only Repealing Obamacare Would Lead To Market Shock, Higher Premiums

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended the House GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill Friday, arguing a straight repeal without replacement language would have catastrophic results.

The legislation, introduced Tuesday, received push back from the conservative wing of the party, many of whom disapprove of the new tax credits. Critics of tax credits in lieu of Obamacare’s subsidies say that the change creates a new entitlement program. Other conservative criticisms revolve around the timeline for rolling back Medicaid expansion and the 30 percent premium hike for those who drop their coverage.

Due to the divide over replacement provisions, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan reintroduced the 2015 repeal legislation, which was vetoed by former President Barack Obama. Proponents of the leadership-backed bill say it’s their best shot to make good on the promise they made to the American people.

“If you just repealed the bill, you would double your premiums and you would collapse the market — then you are going to sit here and wait and hope you get 60 votes to try and deal with the health care system,” McCarthy told reporters at a press conference Friday morning. “I do not believe that is the best approach; that’s why we are repealing and replacing.”

The California Republican acknowledged they were not able to get everything they would like to accomplish into the reconciliation legislation — which only requires a simple majority in the upper chamber — due to procedural restrictions.

“Because of the system we are in and the rules of the Senate, we have to do it through reconciliation — so we have to deal with the Byrd rule,” he said.

GOP leadership have repeatedly said they plan to unravel the Affordable Care Act. The second and third leg include unwinding Obamacare regulations using executive orders and passing additional legislation with provisions not possible to include in the reconciliation language. Conservatives argue the additional legislation is “aspirational,” since it will need 60 votes in the Senate to pass.

McCarthy said that leadership has worked to be inclusive of members across the spectrum, while crafting the legislation.

“Just in February alone, there were seven different meetings for those to come forward and talk about the idea,” he said. “That’s why the culmination of this is input from everybody inside this conference and across the country having input.”

According to McCarthy, striking a compromise may get conservatives to the “sweet spot” they are looking to reach.

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