House Republicans want a health care plan that lowers costs, covers pre-existing conditions, grows the number of insured and lets people keep their plans and doctors — all while “eliminating job-killing policies and regulations.”
The extraordinary wish list is written into the House legislation to repeal Obamacare, slated for a vote Tuesday. It’s another sign of how far Republicans are from having a viable alternative to Obamacare even as they insist on it being repealed. The guidelines seem not to grapple with the difficult policy tradeoffs at play, such as raising spending versus letting Americans go uninsured or imposing mandates versus letting insurers refuse to cover sick people.
Here’s the language instructing the committees of jurisdiction to approve “replacement legislation.”
The language comes within six months of a Supreme Court decision that may gut Obamacare subsidies for millions of Americans and blow a huge hole in the law. Most Republican leaders have said they want to be prepared with a replacement plan, though it’s not an easy task for a party that remains divided and has failed to coalesce around an alternative for five years.
The task falls to House Ways & Means Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Energy & Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-MI), House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and House Education & Workforce Committee Chair John Kline (R-MN).
Not all Republicans want the party to craft such an alternative. Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) submitted an amendment to the bill that would strip out the language calling for a replacement.