Commentary & Opinion

GOP Advances 'American Health Care Act' as ACA 'Replacement'

Subsidies replaced with tax credits; Medicaid expanded; Mandates removed; Planned Parenthood defunded

by PE Kelley

Mr. Kelley is managing editor of Advisor Magazine. Connect with him by e-mail:

Republican lawmakers unveiled their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Monday, finally making good on a seven year promise to provide an alternative. Enter The American Healthcare Act.

And now they have to sell it to the whole of the congress, where differing opinions continue to clash. Moreover, most Americans are waiting with trepidation to know how this often bitterly partisan battle will translate where it counts the most: in their wallets.

Still, the road ahead looks to be just as contentious, with Democrats ready to focus attention on who will lose coverage, and it could be many. Republicans, meanwhile, are looking to advance a more ‘fair and humane’ set of laws, but are nonetheless receiving considerably strong blowback from conservative republicans on a number of sticking points. Many just don’t think the new proposal goes far enough in dismantling Obamacare.

Excerpts from today’s commentary

  • Employee Benefit News: GOP bill could prove costly by cutting most ACA taxes without replacements
    Overall, it’s a bill full of politics. For example, elective abortion coverage in a health plan will render it ineligible for any tax credit treatment. The American Health Care Act also fulfills other political promises: No more individual or employer mandates, new incentives to keep coverage — and pay more if you lose coverage, especially with a pre-existing condition — and elimination of essential health benefits under Medicaid.
    Meanwhile, it does little to address the ongoing concern about cost. To quote my incredibly quotable friend adviser Mark Gaunya of Borislow Insurance, “Health Insurance is expensive because healthcare is expensive.” The discussion that we need to have about cost — and everyone’s responsibility to its extraordinary rise since the early 1990s — still needs to occur.
    Republicans are nonetheless receiving considerably strong blowback from conservative republicans on a number of sticking points
  • CNN: Major sticking point- Medicaid expansion
    The changes that House Republicans are proposing to make to Medicaid are not sitting well — among some fellow Republicans.
    Thirty-one states expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, extending coverage to some 11 million low-income adults. Drastically restricting that program would leave many of those people without coverage — an outcome that has plenty of GOP governors and lawmakers on edge.
    The plan would overhaul the whole program, which covers more than 70 million people, by sending states a fixed amount of money per enrollee, known as a per-capita cap.
    GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski said that her party must find a “fair and humane” way to treat those who gained coverage through Medicaid expansion.
  • Washington Post: House leaders brace for the task ahead- Selling Obamacare Lite
    A day after House leaders released a plan to supplant the Affordable Care Act, those same leaders braced for the task ahead: to forestall an outright revolt among conservative Republicans, who already showed signs of agitation late Monday.“Keep the Cadillac tax in place? Keep Medicaid in place until 2020?” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus. “We didn’t have Medicaid expansion in the bill we sent to President Obama, but we have it in the one we send to President Trump? That makes no sense to me.”
  • Wall Street Journal: House GOP Releases Plan to Repeal, Replace Obamacare
    House Republicans on Monday released a detailed proposal that marks their first attempt in the new Congress to unite fractious GOP members behind a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and deliver on a central campaign promise by Republicans.