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Republican Health care plan details repeal of Obamacare mandate, taxes

House GOP leaders released a health care plan Monday that would repeal Obamacare’s unpopular mandates and taxes, revamp tax credits for those who buy insurance on their own and unwind the vast expansion of Medicaid insurance but give states a soft landing, allowing them enroll people under a generous funding scheme through 2020.

House leaders plan to mark up twin bills in the Energy and Commerce and tax-writing Ways and Means committees on Wednesday before rolling them into budget legislation designed to meet arcane rules and avoid a Democratic filibuster when it heads to the Senate.

It’s the first major step toward repealing and replacing a law that’s been a Republican target for years, although the plan will meet fierce resistance from Democrats and could disappoint conservatives fearful of passing “Obamacare lite.”

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, however, said lawmakers were fulfilling a pledge to save American from a collapsing law that President Obama and Democratic majorities muscled to passage in 2010 without any Republican support.

“Skyrocketing premiums, soaring deductibles, and dwindling choices are not what the people were promised seven years ago. It’s time to turn a page and rescue our health care system from this disastrous law,” Mr. Ryan said.

Committees are set to begin debating the legislation even before congressional budget-minders offer a report, or “score,” on how the bill affects coverage and spending. How the bill stacks up to Obamacare, which covered roughly 20 million people, is a key sticking point for the debate moving forward, and many analysts think it will cover fewer people.

The twin bills dropped after a feverish efforts to rewrite earlier drafts. As expected, the new version repeals the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring people to hold insurance or pay a penalty. It is retroactive, so people who shirked insurance last year will not be penalized on this year’s returns.

Insurers still cannot deny people with preexisting medical conditions, though they can charge higher premiums to those who had a gap in coverage, so people don’t just sign up once they’re sick.

The plan offers refundable tax credits ranging from $ 2,000 to $ 4,000 to people who do not get covered through a job or government insurance program. It ties the credits to age beginning in 2020, with people receiving more assistance as they get older, after Obamacare’s income-based system that proved unwieldy and threw taxpayer money at rising premiums.

However, the assistance would phase out out for individuals who make at least $ 75,000 or households making $ 150,000. People would lose $ 100 in tax credits for every additional $ 1,000 they earn.

In another major shift, lawmakers dropped a plan to begin taxing a portion of particularly generous employer-sponsored plans, after some GOP members said it would strain the middle class. Instead, the plan repeals many of the law’s taxes starting in 2018 to retain revenue in the near term.

Republicans will allow the 31 states that expanded their Medicaid program to those making 138 percent of federal poverty level keep the expansion through 2020. The federal government would continue to pay for 90 percent of the cost of those in the expansion population after that, but not accept more, as the grandfathered people to slowly roll out of the program.

Republicans will the limit federal funding for the program by doling out funding based on the number of enrollees in each state.

The GOP rode anti-Obamacare fervor to sweeping electoral wins in 2010, 2014 and in November, when Republican candidates vowed to link arms with a President Trump and finally repeal the law.

Obamacare has covered more than 20 million Americans but been plagued by rising premiums and dwindling plan choices on its web-based exchanges, which serve as the linchpin of the program, leading Republicans to pitch their effort as a rescue mission.

“Republicans didn’t create Obamacare or all the problems that followed—from rising premiums to crumbling exchanges to bankrupt co-ops to lost plans and restricted networks. We didn’t create these problems, but we’re going to fix it,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said.


Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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