Tags: Healthcare Reform | conservatives | republican | Obamacare | replacement

Conservatives: ACA Replacement 'Too Important to Rush Through'

Conservatives: ACA Replacement 'Too Important to Rush Through'
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah (AP Photo)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 March 2017 06:40 PM

Republicans were split Tuesday on the House plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, with President Donald Trump endorsing it as "good healthcare" and conservatives deriding it as "Republican welfare entitlement" and vowing to propose their own bills by Wednesday.

"This is simply too important to rush through," Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told reporters at a news conference outside the Capitol. "The proposals that came out yesterday were shrouded in a cloak of secrecy.

"The debate must work within the framework outlined by our Fathers."

Utah Sen. Mike Lee called the GOP proposal "a step in the wrong direction.

"We've seen what happens when Congress decides to put forward a plan negotiated behind closed doors," he said. "It's not usually a good product.

"The two parties are in widespread disagreement when it comes the Obamacare, but there's one plan and only one that has passed in the Republican Congress — and it's this plan being introduced today."

Lee referred to a plan to immediately repeal Obamacare that was to be introduced Tuesday by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Paul said he would then put forth a separate bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act.

He called for a "complete repeal, clean repeal" of Obamacare, noting Republicans took that step in 2010 and 2016.

"That's what we should do again, but we are divided," Paul said. "We have to admit that we are divided on replacement.

"We are united on repeal, but divided on replacement."

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio said he would introduce a similar bill that would repeal Obamacare in the House on Wednesday.

"We think you have to get rid of Obamacare completely," he said.

House Republicans introduced their Obamacare replacement plan, which would repeal Obamacare's individual coverage mandate and replace it with a penalty for allowing coverage to lapse.

It also would end fines on people who do not carry health insurance — and the proposal is expected to cover fewer than the 20 million people insured under President Barack Obama's original plan.

President Trump endorsed the GOP proposal after meeting with House leaders at the White House.

"I'm proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives and encouraged by members of both parties," Trump told reporters. "We're going to have something that's going to be much more understood and much more popular than people can even imagine."

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the bill was "all about patients."

The new proposal, he said, must allow for a transition from the current Obamacare insurance system.

He argued the Republican bill's tax credits would serve to "equalize the tax treatment" of health benefits provided by employers and insurance people buy on their own.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the plan "delivers relief to Americans fed up with skyrocketing premium and fewer choices.

"It moves us away from the broken status quo toward a better patient-centered system. That means lower costs for hard-working families."

House committees will begin hearings on the bill Wednesday, Ryan said. The speaker was confident he could get the 218 votes needed to pass the legislation in the lower chamber.

Meanwhile, Democrats slammed the proposal — with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying that Obamacare resulted from "one of the most transparent drafting processes in recent memory."

Conservative economist Peter Morici ripped the proposed bill as merely "a repackaging of Obamacare.

"It won't lower costs," he told Dana Bash on CNN. "If this goes through — six months from now, 18 months from now — ordinary people making $50,000 a year will pay more out of their pockets for healthcare.

"Prices will be higher — and the Republicans will be terribly embarrassed by the outcome."

However, both President Trump and Ryan admitted repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act would not be easy, especially amid the rancor from conservative Republicans.

"Doing big things is never easy, but we have made a promise and we are going to keep that promise," Ryan said. "We made a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with conservative solutions and reforms.

"That is exactly what this bill does."

Conservatives noted HHS Chief Price told reporters the GOP proposal was a "work in progress" — and South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford likened it to "an opening bid."

"Do we need to lower the bar in what we believe in as conservatives simply because a Republican is in the White House?" he asked.

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert warned GOP leaders about trying to stop conservatives through the legislative process.

"So as long as we're able the get amendments to the floor that will fix some huge problems with the bill now filed, then we'll be OK," he said. "There better not be a rule that prevents amendments that are badly needed to fix this flawed bill.

"That would be a major problem.

"We've got a starting point — and in the midst the horse excrement, we have a racehorse."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Republicans were split Tuesday on the House plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, with President Donald Trump endorsing it as "good healthcare" and conservatives deriding it as "Republican welfare entitlement" and vowing to propose their own bills by Wednesday.
conservatives, republican, Obamacare, replacement
Tuesday, 07 March 2017 06:40 PM
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