Some are calling it Obamacare 2.0 or Obamacare Lite. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) called it ″Obamacare Gone!″ That has been the initial reaction by Republicans on the GOP plan, the America Health Care Act, to repeal and replace Obamacare. Naturally, the Democrats are calling it a disaster. Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), claims that this plan is the best way to undo Obamacare in the shortest time possible. He said that it is the first of 3 phases. The AHCA offers much of what many people like about Obamacare without the mandates and penalties. Perhaps more importantly, the bill is designed to sail through the US Senate under the Reconciliation Rules to pass with just a simple majority.
That is an important feature of the GOP plan. The AHCA will keep the Preexisting coverage from the ACA, along with allowing those under 26 years of age to remain on their parents′ policies. It also essentially replaces subsidies which went directly to insurance providers in favor of tax credits to citizens directly, who may access the money on a monthly basis. But gone are the individual and employer mandates, as well as the penalties. Well, the penalties will eventually be phased out over a 5 to 7 year period.
The GOP plan is Phase 1 of the healthcare reforms long promised by Republicans. Phase 2 will be in the hands of DHHS Secretary Tom Price, who will eliminate most of the regulations imposed on the health care industry resulting from Obama′s ACA, as well as other regulatory reforms. Phase 3 will prove to be the most difficult part, getting the states to open their borders and allow people to buy health insurance from a nationwide market. An act of Congress could impose such change, but it will require at least a 60-vote majority in the Senate.
President Donald Trump held a meeting yesterday at the White House with GOP leaders on the new health care bill. He is ready to back the AHCA as it falls in line with his campaign promise to get rid of Obamacare quickly. Speaker Ryan intends to try to get the bill passed by both the House and Senate before summer. He needs to as this would clear the path for a major tax reform bill which, under his time-table, would be passed by August.
The 120-page document will begin its formal pathway to becoming a law in Congressional committees next week. We can expect many changes as the various factions fight over the details. But there it is, folks! The GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is now public and official. No more scenes of politicians searching through the halls of Congress looking for the bill. Its online and available for everybody to read. None of this having to vote and pass it first to find out whats in it. The American Health Care Act may not be perfect, but it is certainly far better than the ACA in that it returns the freedom to choose back into the hands of the citizens. It also sets the stage for future changes which will finally restore free market forces back into the health care industry, allowing for competition to offer cheaper and better insurance policies to people. Hallelujah!
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