House Republicans plan to have an alternative to Obamacare ready by this fall, Deputy Whip Kevin Brady tells Newsmax TV.
"The president's plan is in disarray in driving up healthcare costs before it's put in place," the Texas representative tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. "Let's look at a smarter solution that lowers healthcare costs and gives patients more choices."
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In the face of huge economic and political pressures, President Barack Obama last week made his biggest concession yet on his singular major domestic achievement. The White House delayed until 2015 the Obamacare requirement that medium and large companies provide coverage for their workers or face heavy fines.
Obamacare requires companies with 50 or more workers to offer affordable coverage to full-time employees or risk escalating tax penalties. The requirement was to take effect on Jan. 1.
The GOP-controlled House voted in May — for the 37th time — to repeal Obamacare, more formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"Politically, this is the second embarrassing failure by the White House to have a major provision of Obamacare ready on schedule," says Brady, who is chairman of the House Joint Economic Committee. "It really goes to the question of how unworkable is this massive bill. Is this administration credible enough, competent enough, to actually implement this?
"The second major issue is that the timing was removed for local businesses but the problems remain," he adds. "You still have a lot of businesses that are cutting workers' hours — and, in creating legroom to find more money for the higher healthcare costs, many have delayed hiring.
"The question for a lot of experts is: 'If the Affordable Care Act isn't ready for local businesses, is it ready for families, for children, for those who are ill today?'"
In fact, the one-year delay has caused even more consternation among entrepreneurs and other small companies, Brady says.
"If you talk to local businesses, they'll tell you that this one-year reprieve doesn’t solve their problems. It creates more uncertainty for the economy — and, now, because it won't have reporting requirements, it actually makes the other mandate on families and individuals even tougher and perhaps more unworkable.
"They may have traded what they thought was a political solution in one area for more political problems just in another area."
Turning his attention to comprehensive immigration reform, Brady tells Newsmax that the Senate bill passed last month on a 68-32 vote is "dead on arrival" in the House.
The legislation was introduced by the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators in April.
"The Senate bill is not the right solution, both in its lack of timely, immeasurable security along the border — and the fact that it involves waiting so long to have local businesses verify that they’re hiring legal workers so that we're actually tracking people with visas and when they expire.
"The two fatal flaws that need to be fixed are that the Senate had this very government-driven, labor union-driven workforce component, when we want a workforce in the 21st Century that trains up American workers and then fills in the gaps without government interference. That will be a change.
"And in the House, we believe that citizenship should be reserved for those who come through the front door of legal immigration,” Brady says. “You'll see a discussion about a legal status, perhaps, without a path to citizenship and without government benefits."
The House, he adds, is going to approach the issue "step by step."
"Its size alone makes us skeptical. Like the president's healthcare law, where it was so massive, very few really understood how it worked as a bill.
"You'll see the House break it down into bite-size chunks," Brady tells Newsmax. "You'll see bills that the public can understand, which is really important to credibility."
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