ST. GEORGE – “Obamacare Lite.” “Obamacare 2.0.” “RyanCare.” Those are a few of the names being given to the American Health Care Act by detractors, namely conservative ones.
While the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act rolled out by congressional Republicans is supported by President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, other Republicans, like Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee, are not so happy with it.
“We’re going to do something that’s great and I’m proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives,” Trump declared at the White House as he met Tuesday with the House GOP vote-counting team. “We’re going to take action. There’s going to be no slowing down. There’s going to be no waiting and no more excuses by anybody.”
The new GOP plan would repeal the current law’s unpopular fines on people who don’t carry health insurance. It also would replace income-based subsidies, which the law provides to help millions of Americans pay premiums, with age-based tax credits that may be skimpier for people with low incomes. Those payments would phase out for higher-earning people.
The legislation also would limit future federal funding for Medicaid, which covers low-income people, about one in five Americans. And it would loosen rules that Obama’s law imposed for health plans directly purchased by individuals.
Among those opposed to the Republican health care overhaul is Sen. Mike Lee who posted his opinion of it over Facebook Tuesday:
The American Health Care Act is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for. It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction.
We promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington. This bill does not do that. We don’t know how many people would use this new tax credit, we don’t know how much it will cost, and we don’t know if this bill will make health care more affordable for Americans.
This is exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for and it is not what we promised the American people.
Let’s fulfill our Obamacare repeal promise immediately and then take our time and do reform right. Let’s pass the 2015 repeal bill that Republicans in both houses of Congress voted for and sent to the White House just 15 months ago.
Once Obamacare has been properly sent to the dustbin of history then we can begin a deliberative, open, and honest process to reform our nation’s health care system.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, on the other hand, called the American Health Care Act an improvement over the current system, according to KSL.com.
“Even in its early stages, this bill represents a significant improvement over Obamacare. I welcome hearing meaningful feedback on the health policy proposals in this plan, but I also encourage my colleagues to refrain from final judgments,” Hatch said.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz said that the GOP’s long-awaited health care plan may lead people to put aside money for their health care instead of “getting that new iPhone.”
That is his advice to consumers who are concerned about the changes to the health care system that may be on the way under the House Republican’s proposed health care plan.
The plan puts more emphasis on health savings accounts at the expense of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which offers subsidies of insurance premiums to qualified applicants.
To make his point, on CNN’s “New Day,” Chaffetz advised consumers that instead of buying a new phone “maybe they should invest in their own health care.”
Chaffetz told Fox News later on in the day that he may not have said things as “smoothly” as he meant.
“Well, what we’re trying to say, and maybe I didn’t say it as smoothly as I possibly could, but people need to make a conscious choice and I believe in self-reliance,” he said.
As may be expected, Chafftz’s comment didn’t escape scrutiny.
Peter Corroon, Utah Democratic Party Chairman called Chaffetz’s words “flippant” in a statement issued Wednesday:
Congressman Chaffetz’s comments this morning on CNN illustrate the ‘do as we say, not as we do’ culture of the GOP. While taking a paycheck and healthcare from taxpayers, he’s telling us, the American People, we need to sacrifice. Chaffetz himself has no choice to make.
Donors from his campaign pay for his iPhone, and we pay for his healthcare. Trumpcare is a death sentence for many Americans, and the flippant comments made today shows that the priority of the GOP is to Make America Sick Again.
Associated Press reporters Erica Werner and Alan Fram contributed to this article.
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