WASHINGTON – The Republican-backed Obamacare replacement bill seeks to maintain many of the more popular provisions contained in the Affordable Care Act, according to a draft of the bill released on Monday evening.
The American Health Care Act endeavors to preserve protections for people with pre-existing conditions but insurers would be permitted to raise the premiums of individuals with pre-existing conditions who forfeit coverage and choose to reenroll at a later date.
Individuals 26 years of age and under would be allowed to maintain health coverage under their parents’ insurance plans as is guaranteed under the ACA.
The legislation would eliminate the controversial individual mandated coverage provision contained in the ACA that allowed the government to levy a small fine on people who chose not to purchase health insurance. Employer mandates to offer coverage also would be eliminated.
Taxpayer subsidies that have been allocated to help those who cannot afford to pay for their monthly premiums would be phased out over a three-year period and then replaced with refundable tax credits.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Monday that the legislation would help expand access to affordable health care.
“The American Health Care Act is a plan to drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance,” Ryan said in a statement.
“It protects young adults, patients with pre-existing conditions, and provides a stable transition so that no one has the rug pulled out from under them,” he added.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), both of whom were involved in crafting the replacement package, will speak at a news conference Tuesday morning.
Walden said in a statement on Monday evening that the legislation “maintains important protections for consumers-including for those with pre-existing conditions and for young adults on their parents’ plans – and it doesn’t pull the rug out from anyone currently on Medicaid.”
Brady said in a statement on Monday evening that the legislation is consistent with President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to repeal and replace the ACA.
“Today House Republicans are answering President Trump’s call to action with legislation to repeal this failing law and help ensure workers and families in Texas and across the country have access to health care that’s tailored to their needs — not health care that’s dictated by Washington.”
But Ranking Democrats Frank Pallone (N.J.) (Energy and Commerce) and Rep. Richard Neal (Mass.) (Ways and Means) issued a joint statement on Monday evening in which they said the legislation could prove detrimental to Americans covered under the ACA.
“The Republican repeal bill would rip healthcare away from millions of Americans, ration care for working families and seniors, and put insurance companies back in charge of healthcare decisions – contrary to everything President Trump has said he would do with his healthcare plan,” they said.
The legislation is expected to be marked up on Wednesday.