If you’ve paid any attention at all over the past week, you’ve heard by now that the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives unveiled their plan to replace Obamacare, after keeping the bill extraordinarily secret by hiding it in a room guarded by Capitol Police.
Conservative Senators, Congressmen, and advocacy groups have almost universally come out against the plan as it currently stands, going so far as to accurately label it “Obamacare Lite.”
The Conservative opposition to the bill is due to the fact that the leadership’s plan doesn’t fully repeal Obamacare or fulfill many Republican promises made throughout the past seven years, while simply shifting and renaming some elements in order to hide their intent from the American people.
Criticism is also being leveled at the process the Republican leadership has chosen to employ to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The first phase, the “Obamacare Lite” proposal that keeps much of Obamacare in place, can pass with a simply majority in the House and Senate. But the second and third phases of their plan, which include crucial measures like allowing insurance companies to sell their products across state lines, will require significant bi-partisan support, which the leadership knows is extremely unlikely.
While Conservatives are sticking to their guns and demanding amendments to make the plan better, many Republicans, including some from here in North Carolina, are either keeping their feelings quiet so as not to anger either side, or outright supporting the leadership’s plan, with some (Thom Tillis) going so far as to attack Conservatives for wanting a replacement plan that is quantifiably better than Obamacare.
Here’s what some of our state’s Republicans have said about the “Obamacare Lite” plan so far:
- Rep. Mark Meadows – “(W)e really need to look at some amendments, to make sure that we get rid of the taxes, we put something on President Obama’s desk just a few months ago, and to suggest that what we put on President Trump’s desk sets a new entitlement, keeps some taxes, doesn’t repeal all of Obamacare. We’ve got to do better, and hopefully, with some amendments, we can do that…. This doesn’t even go as far as we went in 2015 to repeal all the Medicaid expansion, it still keeps that. And so, as we’re looking at that, we’ve got to find that sweet spot. One of the concerns I have, the biggest concern I have.. will it actually lower healthcare costs?”
- Rep. Walter Jones – “I do not know how any Republican conservative, which I am one of those, can vote for the bill when you don’t know what the cost is going to be.”
- Rep. Mark Walker – “I applaud the movement and believe it is the right direction. We are carefully reviewing this legislation looking in three main areas of shared conservative concern: protection of the unborn, elimination of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and ensuring the tax credits are fiscally responsible.”
- Senator Thom Tillis – “We cannot allow partisan politics to consume the health care policy debate… My Republican colleagues would be making a mistake if they become content with failing to produce the perfect at the expense of achieving good, practical solutions to reform our nation’s broken health care system.”
- Rep. David Rouzer – “The GOP healthcare repeal and replacement is a work in progress that will be modified multiple times before passing the House and the Senate… I remain cautiously optimistic that Congress will ultimately come together and pass a reconciliation bill that promotes employment and fiscal restraint,”
- Rep. Richard Hudson – “This is about real people out there who are being hurt, and today we begin the process of bringing them relief, of putting them in control so that they can decide what kind of health care they want and they can get it at a price they can afford… It’s not a perfect bill, but it’s the right direction.”
- Rep. Virginia Foxx – “These reforms will help expand affordable coverage for working families, lower health care costs for small businesses and their employees, and promote a healthy workforce. All of these proposals reflect the principle that individuals should have greater control over their health care and the freedom to do what’s best for their families.”
- Rep. Robert Pittenger – “As Republicans have promised for the past seven years, The American Health Care Act will create more choices, lower costs, and give hardworking American families control of their own health care again. Furthermore, this bill maintains protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan, and ensures a stable transition period while eliminating the onerous government mandates.”