House Republican leaders earlier today presented rank-and-file members with their vision of a “repeal plus” bill that would get rid of most of the Affordable Care Act and include some replacement provisions that can go into effect concurrently.
Reportedly, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) reportedly discussed a menu of replacement provisions including refundable tax credits for purchasing insurance, health savings accounts and various options for expanding Medicaid.
According to POLITICO, Medicaid reform is a topic that exposes stark policy differences among Republicans, as is the discussion of what kind of tax credits consumers should get to help them buy insurance.
In a press conference earlier today, Ryan downplayed the lack of consensus on specific policy details and said House leaders will introduce legislation to repeal and replace the ACA following the upcoming President’s Day work period.
“Here is what is important for us all to understand: Obamacare is not simply stuck in some kind of status quo,” Ryan said. “It is getting worse by the day and it will keep getting worse unless we act. We need to rescue people from this collapsing law, and we need to replace it with a true patient-centered system. One that gives every American access to quality, affordable coverage…Step by step, this is what our plan to repeal and replace Obamacare will do.”
Ryan’s careful “step by step” process has frustrated more conservative members of his caucus. The House Freedom Caucus earlier this week urged Ryan to bring to the House floor an ACA repeal bill that Republicans approved in 2015 that gives Congress two years to come up with a replacement plan.
“We made a commitment to the American people to repeal this law – we must keep that promise,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said in a statement. “We remain open to and encourage a swift vote on a health care package that is market-based, consumer driven and fair.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that congressional Republicans’ continued insistence on repealing the health care law without any specific plan to replace it is the “leading cause of market uncertainty.”
“Instead, they ought to work with Democrats to identify bipartisan ways of strengthening the law and making sure that insurers want to offer marketplace plans at affordable rates in all regions of the country,” Hoyer said.