Congressional Republicans are still divided in their support for refundable tax credits in the House plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.
The refundable tax credit for individuals to purchase insurance was a key piece of a draft ACA repeal bill leaked last week. House conservatives pushed back strongly against the tax credit which they view as a new entitlement program. The furor over the leaked draft caused Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) to come out and say the plan is “no longer even a viable draft that we’re working off of.”
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) shared an updated version of the leaked draft with Senate Republicans March 1 to gauge their support, but legislators have been tight-lipped about how the new version differs from the first draft. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was part of that meeting and said afterward that the plan is still in a “state of transition.”
Many legislators are saying they will wait to see a final bill before deciding whether to support a refundable tax credit. President Trump appears to voice support for the idea during his address to Congress this week. “We should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts,” Trump said. “But it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by our government.”
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) downplayed the deeply complicated divides that Congress must overcome to repeal and replace the ACA. Ryan has previously said he would like the House to pass a bill by the end of March.
“I feel at the end of the day when we get everything done and right, we’re going to be unified on this,” Ryan said at a press conference Tuesday. “I think you’re going to have a lot of churning on legislation like this. This is a plan we’re all working on together – the House, the Senate, the White House, so there aren’t rival plans here.”