Republican lawmakers introduced a comprehensive replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday.
Simply titled the “Obamacare Replacement Act,” Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) presented the new bill in a press conference.
“I think that's what's really represented here in this bill that a lot of folks have worked on, whether from the caucus standpoint or from Senator Paul's standpoint, is an inflection point,” Sanford said. “This is not about replacing the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. This is about where do we go next in terms of healthcare so that people are in control.”
The bill entails a handful of different measures, including an elimination of the essential health benefits requirement, the creation of a $5,000 tax credit for individuals and families contributing to a health savings account, and the option to purchase health insurance across state lines.
Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) called it “a conservative solution for health care concerns for America,” adding that it put forth:
“...a definitive plan that will address the concerns that many of my constituents and constituents across the country have raised with regards to the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.”
Meadows also noted that the bill was the “official position” of the Freedom Caucus and would serve as the companion to Paul's bill in the Senate.
Meadows added that their bill was much more in line with conservatives' plans compared to the replacement bill put forth by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). He thanked the two senators for bringing an alternative plan into the debate, but dismissed the idea that it is a viable option for conservatives:
“We believe that the Collins/Cassidy plan really just institutionalizes the Affordable Care Act in some ways, that says if you like your Obamacare, you can keep it. And it's not a conservative — in fact I don't know of many conservatives that support that position.”
Paul praised newly-minted Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for crafting many of their plans during his tenure in the House, which is what makes theirs “a consensus bill.”
“Ours is a bill that takes some of the things that Republicans almost all agree to — we don't take the controversial stuff — there's disagreement on the Medicaid expansion, there's disagreement on refundable tax credits, so we left that out and that's going to be addressed in repeal,” he said.