The reviews are starting to come in on the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as "ObamaCare," and aside from the Trump administration, they aren't very good to start out.
Major conservative lobbying groups have registered their displeasure with the bill, deeming it "Obamacare-lite," "Obamacare 2.0" and "RyanCare." It's been criticized by some key members of the party in Congress, not to mention Democrats.
The 100-page bill would eliminate the Affordable Care Act's mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance, the fines imposed on those who don't carry health insurance and Medicaid expansion for some beneficiaries after 2019, among other changes.
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It was rolled out by House Republicans Monday, and the Trump administration threw its support behind the bill Thursday, with the president calling it "wonderful" in an early morning tweet.
But that was before statements started coming in from influential groups like Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth. Here are selections from their statements, which all registered opposition to the bill:
- "As the bill stands today, it is Obamacare 2.0. Passing it would be making the same mistake that President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi made in 2010. Millions of Americans would never see the improvements in care they were promised, just as Obamacare failed to deliver on its promises." –letter from Koch brothers-affiliated Freedom Partners and Americans for Prosperity
- "Republicans should be offering a full and immediate repeal of Obamacare's taxes, regulations, and mandates, an end to the Medicaid expansion, and inclusion of free-market reforms, like interstate competition." –Club for Growth president David McIntosh, in a letter calling the bill "RyanCare"
- "Many Americans seeking health insurance on the individual market will notice no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act. That is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy." –American Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham
Those comments were echoed by some influential GOP lawmakers, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
"The House leadership plan is Obamacare Lite. It will not pass. Conservarives (sic) are not going to take it. #FullRepeal," Paul tweeted.
"We don't know how many people would use this new tax credit, we don't know how much it will cost, and we don't know if this bill will make health care more affordable for Americans," Lee said at a news conference.
Four other Republican senators, from Ohio, West Virginia, Colorado and Alaska, took issue with the way the new bill affects Medicaid funding, arguing that while Obamacare needs to be replaced, this replacement "does not provide stability and certainty for individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs or the necessary flexibility for states."
Notes of caution also came from GOP governors, the Associated Press reported, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich arguing that phasing out expanded Medicaid coverage without a viable alternative is "counterproductive" and Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois' saying he was "very concerned" that people will be "left in the lurch" under the House GOP plan.
Members of the administration sought to assure the party, and the American people, that the bill was strong and would pass.
"This is the beginning of the process and we look forward to working with them and others," Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said, when asked about the opposition of conservative groups.
Price said the bill was following the principles of affordability, accessibility, quality care, incentivizing innovation, and empowering patients.
Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that interstate competition was coming in another phase of the health care rollout, which members of the administration echoed later.
White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney said he was sure the bill will bring "tremendous long-term savings" by giving states more control over Medicaid.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office hasn't yet determined the cost of the new health care bill.