House Republicans release long-awaited Affordable Care Act replacement bill
By: Annie Yager, Xiro Xone News March 6, 2017 Updated: 8:21 PM
House Republicans on Monday evening released the text of their long-awaited Affordable Care Act/ObamaCare replacement bill, proposing to restructure the original legislation while still preserving certain patient protections.
Under two bills drafted by separate House committees, the government would no longer penalize Americans for failing to have health insurance but would try to encourage people to maintain coverage by allowing insurers to impose a surcharge of 30 percent for those who have a gap between health plans.
The legislation would replace the federal subsidies that help low-income people buy healthcare plans with tax credits, give out grants to help states design their own systems, and gradually eliminate the Medicaid expansion that has helped 11 million people get insurance for the first time.
The bill also would preserve two of the most popular areas of the 2010 healthcare law, letting young adults stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and forbidding insurers to deny coverage or charge more to people with preexisting medical problems. it would prohibit Americans from using those subsidies to buy health insurance that covers abortions.
It would also target Planned Parenthood, rendering the women’s health organization ineligible for Medicaid reimbursements or federal family planning grants a key priority for anti-abortion groups.
The legislation would repeal ACA's taxes along with the alleged individual and employer mandates. It also would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies, replacing them with tax credits for consumers.
The plan’s impact on the federal deficit is unclear because House Republicans did not release a cost estimate for the proposal.
The proposed change in Medicaid and the reduction in subsidies would both have major effects on the state, threatening to put the budget into the red in future years and reducing the number of state residents able to buy coverage.
Congressional Democrats and other defenders of the current healthcare law charged that the GOP bill would strip away vital health protections.
"Trumpcare doesn't replace the Affordable Care Act, it forces millions of Americans to pay more for less care. This plan would cut and cap Medicaid, defund Planned Parenthood, and force Americans, particularly older Americans, to pay more out of pocket for their medical care all so insurance companies can pad their bottom line.
It cuts taxes on the rich to make middle class families pay more," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). "This bill is a giveaway to the wealthy and insurance companies at the expense of American families, and Senate Democrats will work hard to see that it is defeated."