This afternoon, House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke fondly of the new Republican Obamacare replacement bill that he says moves us moves us towards a patient-centered system, lower costs for working families, and provides greater control over your health care. He reiterated what Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said at today’s White House press briefing. Ryan offered his thanks to President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary Price, and Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX).
He said that this bill would go through the process of regular order. Ryan said that the House GOP didn’t write this legislation over Christmas Eve, like Harry Reid did, and ram it through Congress. They’re doing this in plain sight. The speaker urged Americans to read the bill at ReadTheBill.GOP.
Ryan added that doing big things is never easy, but we have made a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with conservative reforms that’s what this bill has done.
The speaker also said that that Obamacare is collapsing and if the House GOP did nothing—the law would collapse.
“This is an act of mercy,” he said. He also said that he's confident that Republicans will get the 218 votes to pass this bill.
Mark @SpeakerRyan's words: "We will have 218 votes… this is the beginning of the process. We have a few weeks. "— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) March 7, 2017
Conservatives are not pleased that after six years of railing against Obamacare, this replacement bill, which they call Obamacare-lite, is the best Republicans have to offer. One sticky wicket is that it leaves the Medicaid expansion, one of the most expensive provisions in Obamacare, in place. Whitney Neal of the Foundation for Government Accountability noted the organization’s disappointment in a press release:
Instead, the draft legislation would reduce the federal matching funds for individuals who enroll in the expansion after December 31, 2019 to states’ traditional matching rates, in lieu of the 90 percent rate promised by ObamaCare. The proposal would also allow new states to expand Medicaid to ObamaCare’s new class of able-bodied adults, continue ObamaCare’s enhanced funding for all expansion enrollees until 2020, and continue into perpetuity the enhanced funding for enrollees who sign up before 2020.
The legislation could also incentivize expansion in states that previously rejected it, potentially offsetting or even eliminating any potential federal savings gained by shifting a portion of Medicaid expansion costs for new enrollees onto states. Ultimately, this could open the door to billions in additional state and federal Medicaid expansion spending.
Luke Hilgemann, CEO of Americans for Prosperity, noted that it’s time for congressional Republicans to keep its promise:
“After several national elections since Obamacare’s inception, it couldn’t be clearer that Americans want rid of it. It’s time for politicians to keep their promise and repeal this law. Then we can start the work of making targeted reforms that actually improve health care outcomes and provide affordability for all.”
Please read Guy’s analysis, which dissected this legislation and the political obstacles that are to be expected.