The House of Representatives released an Obamacare replacement bill last night titled the American Health Care Act.
While Democrats in Congress predictably oppose any change to Obamacare, factions of moderate Republicans and conservative Republicans are also resisting this reform. The former worry that the plan will hurt Americans who now rely on Obamacare. The latter argue that the AHCA is simply ObamaCare Lite, and does not sufficiently remove federal regulations or make room for a free healthcare market.
To synthesize the flurry of opinions since the release of the AHCA bill last night, here are excerpts from a few experts outlining the bill’s pros and cons:
Obamacare Repeal Bill Abolishes Tax Hikes, Expands HSAs, Creates New Health Insurance Tax Credit [Forbes]
Ryan Ellis praises the Obamacare repeal bill for several features:
“Nearly all Obamacare taxes repealed.”
“Individual mandate and employer mandate retroactively repealed.”
“Cadillac plan” tax deferred until 2025.”
“New tax credit to purchase health insurance.”
“Health Savings Accounts greatly expanded”
Jessie Hellmann reviewed both sides of the dispute in Washington:
“Two measures unveiled Monday evening dismantle the core aspects of ObamaCare, including its subsidies to help people buy coverage, its expansion of Medicaid, its taxes and its mandates for people to have insurance.
The bill also restructures the Medicaid program l by capping federal payments. In its place, Republicans would put a new system centered on a tax credit to help people buy insurance.”
Hellmann admits emerging disputes in Congress may prove fatal:
‘“Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said the bill as written “will not pass.”
“Conservatives are not going to take it. #FullRepeal,” he tweeted.
“The House leadership ObamaCare Lite plan has many problems. We should be stopping mandates, taxes and entitlements, not keeping them.”
Paul and members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have especially taken issue with the plan’s refundable tax credits, which they call a new entitlement program.’
HHS Secretary Tom Price: House Obamacare bill a ‘work in progress’ [Washington Examiner]
Pete Kasperowicz was optimistic about the replacement bill:
“Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price downplayed some of the divisions among Republicans about the Obamacare repeal bill released on Monday, and said the bill itself is just a “work in progress” that is likely to undergo various changes before it becomes law.”
Among those with positive reviews of the AHCA, some experts are more critical:
Writer Michael F. Cannon is disappointed by the content of the American Health Care Act. He writes:
“The ObamaCare regulations it retains are already causing insurance markets to collapse. It would allow that collapse to continue, and even accelerate the collapse. Republicans would then own whatever damage ObamaCare causes, such as when the law leaves seriously ill patients with no coverage at all. Congress would have to revisit ObamaCare again and again to address problems they failed to fix the first time around. ObamaCare would consume the rest of Congress’ and President Trump’s agenda. Delaying or dooming other priorities like tax reform, infrastructure spending, and Gorsuch. The fallout could dog Republicans all the way into 2018 and 2020, when it could lead to a Democratic wave election like the one we saw in 2008. Only then, Democrats won’t have ObamaCare on their mind but single-payer.”
Republican Obamacare plan signals that liberalism has already won [Washington Examiner]
Philip Klein offers another perspective, calling out Republicans for failing to provide a plan that will lower costs and allow for greater freedom:
“Ultimately, it doesn’t do much to foster the development of a free market system. Under GOPcare, individuals would not be able to take insurance with them from job to job, because tax credits would not be available to people who have an offer of job-based insurance. They would not be able to purchase whatever plan they want, because the federal government will still be dictating what has to be in insurance policies, making insurance more expensive then [sic]it needs to be. If this bill passes, everybody would have to get their insurance either through government, their employer via tax subsidy, or be left to purchase government-designed health policies using federal subsidies.”
House GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Will Make Coverage Unaffordable For Millions — Otherwise, It’s Great [Forbes]
Avik Roy takes a moment to praise the AHCA’s Medicaid reform portion:
“The strongest part of the American Health Care Act, by far, is its overhaul of Medicaid, the developed world’s worst insurance program.”
Roy goes on to critique the way in which Republicans are attempting to replace Obamacare:
“Unfortunately, the AHCA’s efforts at replacing Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges are problematic. A key limitation is that Republicans have decided to repeal and replace Obamacare on a party-line vote using the Senate’s reconciliation process. But reconciliation can only repeal Obamacare’s taxes and spending; it can’t replace most of the law’s premium-hiking insurance regulations.”