GOP still adrift on ACA repeal-replace plans
Meeting privately with Senate Republicans to discuss next steps on the ACA was among the first actions taken last week by the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tom Price. But GOP senators left the meeting disappointed that President Trump’s point man on healthcare didn’t offer a detailed plan on how to either repeal or replace the law. Also last week, on the other side of the Capitol, House committee leaders held a closed-door meeting with restless rank-and-file Republicans. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) sketched an outline for replacing the ACA, offered a menu of policy options to replace it, and distributed a 19-page issue backgrounder and talking points for GOP lawmakers.
But underscoring Republicans’ disunity over how to end a law they have singularly campaigned against for six years, several GOP lawmakers publicly dismissed the House outline to replace the ACA. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called it “Obamacare lite.” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), himself a physician, said the House effort could leave more people uninsured than under the existing law. A separate proposal floated by Brady during the meeting – allowing Americans who lack insurance to buy coverage with refundable tax credits – drew fire from other conservatives who oppose tax credits that exceed what taxpayers owe to the IRS. Continue Reading