House Republicans reveal Obamacare replacement, face backlash

On Monday, Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a healthcare plan intended to be the replacement for the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

The proposed bill is not a “full” or so-called “clean” repeal of Obamacare. The new plan is at least somewhat similar to the one it replaces. Like Obamacare, it would still stop insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, allow children to stay on parents’ plans until age 26, disallow lifetime limits on coverage and require all plans to meet minimum coverage requirements.

However, the bill has significant differences in the areas where Republicans most often disagreed with the former president’s healthcare law. It eliminates the widely disliked ‘individual mandate’ forcing people to buy coverage or pay a penalty but replaces it with a new penalty for lapses in continuous coverage.

The bill also drops the requirement that large companies must provide healthcare to employees, slowly rolls back the expansion of state Medicaid programs, loosens restrictions on charging older people more for insurance and raises caps on tax-free health savings accounts. Last, it would restructure certain insurance subsidies for low-income individuals into tax credits and offer them to higher income earners as well.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have endorsed the bill, along with Republican House leadership including Speaker Paul Ryan, but it has drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats say it hurts sicker and poorer Americans, benefits the rich and will fail to cover as many as the 20 million Obamacare does now.

However, it’s not just the opposition party who has come out against the bill. Many prominent conservative figures and organizations say the bill is too much like Obamacare, and allows too much government interference. Senator Paul Rand went so far as to call the bill “Obamacare Lite.”

 

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