Conservatives Rip Republican Bill to Replace Obamacare
It was a given that Republicans would struggle to get an Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill past the Senate Democrats, but with the release of the House bill on Monday, it quickly became apparent that the first hurdle will be getting it past conservatives in the GOP. Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Rand Paul, and leading members of the House Freedom Caucus gathered for a press conference on Tuesday where they excoriated Paul Ryan’s plan.
“This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for,” said Lee. “It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction.”
For conservative Republicans to say that the bill falls short of their preference is one thing…but a step in the wrong direction? That would indicate a health bill that’s actually worse than Obamacare. Do they actually believe that?
Indeed, some of them do. The Heritage Foundation released a statement on Tuesday that said: “In many ways, the House Republican proposal released last night not only accepts the flawed progressive premises of Obamacare but expands upon them.”
And in a conversation with USA Today, Rep. Jim Jordan said the bill failed to deliver on the promises made to the American people.
“In simple terms, I don’t think we promised the voters we’d repeal it, but we’re gonna keep taxes in place,” said Jordan. “We’re gonna repeal it, but we’re gonna keep Medicaid expansion in place for four years and we’re gonna repeal it, but start a new entitlement with a fancy name of ‘advanceable refundable tax credits.’ I don’t believe this is actually going to bring down the cost of treatment. I don’t know that this is going to bring back affordable insurance.”
The Trump White House was quick to assure critics that the proposed bill was only a starting point for negotiations. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have told members of Congress that there is room for internal party debate when it comes to the specifics of the American Health Care Act.
“We are very early in the legislative process,” said Pence. “As the president has made very clear, we are open to working with members of the House and Senate on ways we can improve the bill, but we believe the American Health Care Act is the right framework for replacing Obamacare, and in the days ahead, the president and I both look forward to making that case to members of Congress and to the American people.”