Rep. Paul Ryan says that the tax credits included in his replacement plan for Obamacare are not like the subsidies in the current law, as the replacement plan allows buyers more freedom.
"They are subsidies, [the administration] calls them tax credits," the Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said Tuesday, reports The Hill
"They’re saying, buy the Washington-mandated plan and the IRS will police how you buy that. We’re saying, give people freedom."
On Tuesday, Paul, along with fellow Republican Reps. John Kline, who chairs the House Education and Workforce Committee, and Fred Upton, who chairs Energy and Commerce, published a Wall Street Journal opinion piece
outlining the plan.
Further, they gave their reaction to the King v. Burwell case concerning the legality of the subsidies.
Arguments are to begin in the Supreme Court on Wednesday
, with a ruling expected by June. According to the Obamacare law, consumers are to be allowed the subsidies only in those states that set up in exchanges, but consumers have been able to get the subsidies to help pay for premiums in all 50 states.
Obamacare opponents say that Supreme Court ruling outlawing the subsidies could mean the end of the much-contested healthcare reform plan.
In their op-ed piece, Paul, Upton, and Kline said their plan will help people buy insurance through a tax credit, much like people who are insured through their employers enjoy.
"Right now, those who get insurance through their employer get a lot of help from the tax code, while some people who buy insurance on their own, including potentially the millions of Americans the IRS put at risk, get no help at all," they said. "So we would offer those in the affected states a tax credit to buy insurance."
If the Supreme Court rules against Obamacare subsidies, some 8 million people could lose up to $25 billion in payments to help them buy insurance, and as many as 75 percent of them could lose their coverage altogether, a fate some Republicans like Ryan are trying to stop, reports The Hill.
"Americans should have an off-ramp from ObamaCare — a legislative alternative that leads them away from an expensive health-care wreck and toward a patient-centered system," Ryan and the others said in their opinion piece. "No family should pay for this administration’s overreach."
The Ryan-Kline-Upton plan also calls for states to be able to opt out of the current Obamacare insurance mandates, which they say drives up costs, and would force insurers to compete for business "rather than force Americans to buy a government-approved health plan under the threat of IRS fines."
The lawmakers said the tax credits in their plan would be "advanceable," meaning that recipients could collect them when they need them, rather than waiting for tax season, and they would be adjusted for age, giving more support to the elderly, whose coverage costs are higher.
However, many conservatives say a replacement plan should not involve restoring subsidies in any way.
"Americans would pay billions more in higher taxes to fund the newly restored subsidies, making Obamacare that much more entrenched," said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in a National Review
opinion piece on Tuesday. "What self-proclaimed conservative of sound mind would do such a thing?"
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