Political Focus: Congressional Republicans introduce ‘Obamacare’ replacement bill
March 13, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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The debate surrounding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” has dominated Congress-related headlines throughout President Donald Trump’s first 50 days in office. Political Focus previously went over the basics of the debate and articulated the tough repeal process. In the time since, congressional Republicans have continued down that difficult path in repealing the law.
Where are we now?
Since the passing of the budget resolution that set the repeal in motion, Republicans have continued toward quickly repealing Obamacare and introducing their own replacement.
They have been avid in promising this replacement that will be implemented simultaneously with Obamacare’s repeal. The replacement bill was unveiled on March 6.
The legislation would no longer mandate health insurance, but would encourage people to retain coverage by allowing insurers to exercise a 30-percent surcharge for those who have a gap between coverage. Additional changes include the elimination of Medicaid reimbursements for women’s health organizations, such as Planned Parenthood.
Not everything from the Affordable Care Act would be gone, however. Young adults would continue to be eligible to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26, and insurers would still not be allowed to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
After over 18 hours of debate among the Ways and Means Committee and 27 hours of debate among the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the bill was approved and moved forward to the House floor on March 9.
On Friday, March 10, news broke that White House officials were encouraging the rollback of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion at a faster rate than is currently laid out in the bill that was revealed earlier in the week.
The current bill proposes the ending of Medicaid expansion funds by 2020. This change is infuriating to many Republican members of Congress who feel that it will destroy the progress that has already been made.
States that agreed to accept federal funds for the expansion under Obamacare will likely not be happy with this suggested change, as it could result in lost coverage for many people in those states.
This will certainly complicate the process of the bill making its way through the House and Senate, even potentially killing the bill in its entirety.
The White House has only publicly shown support for the American Health Care Act, as the bill is called.
However, the news of White House officials privately calling for the accelerated rollback was leaked to CNN sources identified as a senior House conservative aide and two senior administrative officials.