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Divisions Emerge As Republican Lawmakers Debate Obamacare Replacement

by Countable | 3.20.17

Republicans’ plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), the American Health Care Act, is getting serious pushback — and not just from Democrats. Both Tea Party conservatives and moderate senators from states that utilized Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion are raising serious questions about the legislation.

Conservative Republican members of the Freedom Caucus are pushing for the bill to move further to the right, deriding the legislation in its current form as "Obamacare Lite." At a press conference on Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) joined Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) in calling for a complete repeal of all the taxes, mandates and entitlements imposed by Obamacare. “You have to get rid of Obamacare completely,” Jordan said. They plan to introduce their own legislation, similar to a bill that passed Congress in 2015 to repeal Obamacare which was ultimately vetoed by then-President Barack Obama.

At the same time, four moderate senators from states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) raising concerns about state’s rights and loss of coverage for vulnerable populations. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) wrote:

"We are concerned that any poorly implemented or poorly timed change in the current funding structure in Medicaid could result in a reduction in access to life-saving health care services… The February 10th draft proposal from the House does not meet the test of stability for individuals currently enrolled in the program and we will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states."

Both conservative and moderate Republicans are also raising issue with the speed at which party leadership and the White House are moving the legislation through committees. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) said on CNN that party leaders are attempting to "ram" through the legislation, echoing concerns Republicans had raised with Democrats when they moved the Affordable Care Act through Congress in 2010. Today the legislation is being debated in the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees, and the markup sessions are expected to be contentious.

Despite all the concerns and opposition coming from both directions within the GOP, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) insists that he has "no doubt" the legislation will pass at the end of negotiations. President Donald Trump has also thrown his support behind the bill, expecting it will move through Congress quickly and with few changes. Whether or not the legislation moves further to the right or toward the center remains to be seen, but with Republican control of Congress it is likely legislation will reach the president’s desk in the coming weeks.

Tell your reps what you think about the proposed Obamacare replacement using the "Take Action" button.


Have questions about politics? Let us know! Send us an email and you could see your answer in a future post.

-- Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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  • Laragene
    03/08/2017
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    Save America money. Use ACA and consider improvements from those that work with it, doctors, individuals from every area. Work to improve not replace! Wasting tax payer money!

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  • Fredrick
    03/08/2017
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    Wouldn't it better serve the people to amend the AHCA. It would be less complicated than trying to come up with a new bill, new lies, and fake promises. Since it's clear, the GOP are disconnected not only from their constituents but also with the general american public. Our government has been hijacked by people who have forgotten what civil service means. Pushing agendas to further donors and potential donors to keep campaign coffers filled. The people elected to represent the people's business have forgotten the people. Let's remind them.

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  • Lora
    03/08/2017
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    Unless you're planning any changes that benefit more people, then don't bother. The ACA covers many people and the changes they are suggesting do not help us. Rather it penalizes us. We the People are saying NO to these changes. Please fight and preserve the ACA.

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  • Andrea
    03/08/2017
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    Remove subsidies for the middle class, phase out Medicaid for the for the poor, give billions in tax breaks to the insurance companies, tack on a 30% penalty to premiums for those who go without coverage for 2 months, push for Health Savings Plans to help the wealthy shelter money, give tax credits to help the wealthy... Are we getting the picture here for this "new and improved" plan? The usual Republican reverse Robin Hood deal.

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  • GrumpyMSgt
    03/08/2017
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    Thank you Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz for speaking out against this bogus bill from the establishment sell outs! $150 billion for insurance companies, nothing for citizens. Both sides of the aisle need to be VOTED OUT!

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  • Saundra
    03/08/2017
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    Seriously consider how many people you are sending to their deaths by repealing this law instead of fixing it and also how many dollars of the tax payers funds you will be wasting! You wonder why people have a poor opinion of politicians! I suggest you include yourselves in this bill as having to use this exact same insurance... If you don't want it, why should we?!

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  • Dayna
    03/08/2017
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    Any further action on the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, including mark-up, must wait until the Congressional Budget Office weighs in in the cost to and impact on taxpayers, especially the ones who will lose health-care if the current bill becomes law. A law of this magnitude deserves debate. Don't throw out the baby with he bath water!

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  • Patriot
    03/08/2017
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    Please keep our healthcare affordable, especially to the most vulnerable and poorest in our nation. So far, the plan being considered does not do either. It will increase the cost to everyone, and make it nearly impossible for those in greatest need to afford healthcare at all. A refundable tax credit is 10 times worse than the individual mandate! It will just make things cost more to the individual. And a 30% surcharge for not keeping your coverage concurrent! That only hurts the poorest of our nation! What are you people thinking? Or are you thinking at all? Where's all that Christian compassion for your fellow humans in need, that you supposedly all possess? You can be assured that the politicians in office today won't be the same ones there come mid terms and primaries if they mess this up. I'll help make sure of it!

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  • Benjamin
    03/08/2017
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    The GOP is so threatened by the name "Obamacare" that they are willing to throw the baby out with the bath water just to get his name off of the bill. Americans deserve better than simply "access" to healthcare. Do the right thing, fix the ACA instead of dismantling it.

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  • Cherilee
    03/09/2017
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    This bill rides the backs of older people in rates and ability to pay & then robs medicare fund to ride the backs of fixed income retirees. Plans will be cheaper only because we won't be able to afford anything but very limited services. Finally it is an anti-woman bill. Voting for this will turn Texas democrat and unseat you next time you are up for election.

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  • Eva
    03/09/2017
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    Why not improve the affordable care act instead of ripping it apart and creating a plan that reduces the taxes of millionaires and billionaires? The rich will save a few bucks while American children starve. Is the future the continued concentration of wealth in a few hands? It appears lawmakers are using every means possible to steal from the poor and give to the rich!!!

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  • Nick
    03/08/2017
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    This House proposal is not improving our health care system.Tax breaks for the rich and insurance companies - less health care for seniors, it doesn't cover as many people, and it is more expensive.

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  • JoshieVersace
    03/09/2017
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    As the richest and most prosperous country on the planet, I have always believed, besides our our freedoms in Bill of Rights, there should be these 5 basic entitlements for every American citizen: -Education -Security/Safety -Healthcare -Equality -Equal social/economic opportunity

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  • Baybeari
    03/13/2017
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    Top Ten Reasons for Single Payer (Source: California Nurses Association and National Nurses Organizing Committee.) 1. Everybody in,nobody out. Universal means access to healthcare for everyone, period — the desire of 81% of all Californians, as reported in a January, 2007 Field Poll. 2. Portability. Even if you are unemployed, or lose or change your job, your health coverage goes with you. 3. Uniform benefits. No Cadillac plans for the wealthy and Moped plans for everyone else, with high deductibles, limited services, caps on payments for care, and no protection in the event of a catastrophe. One level of comprehensive care no matter what size your wallet. 4. Prevention. By removing financial roadblocks, a single payer system encourages preventive care that lowers an individual’s ultimate cost and pain and suffering when problems are neglected, and societal cost in the over utilization of emergency rooms or the spread of communicable diseases. 5. Choice of physician. Most private plans restrict what doctors, other caregivers, or hospital you can use. Under a single payer system, patients have a choice, and the provider is assured a fair reimbursement. 6. Ending insurance industry interference with care. Caregivers and patients regain the autonomy to make decisions on what’s best for a patient’s health, not what’s dictated by the billing department or the bean counters. No denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions or cancellation of policies for “unreported” minor health problems. 7. Reducing administrative waste. One third of every health care dollar in California goes for paperwork, such as denying care, and profits, compared to about 3% under Medicare, a single-payer, universal system. 8. Cost savings. A single payer system would produce the savings needed to cover everyone, largely by using existing resources without the waste. Taiwan, shifting from a U.S. healthcare model, adopted a single-payer system in 1995, boosting health coverage from 57% to 97% with little if any increase in overall healthcare spending. 9. Common sense budgeting. The public system sets fair reimbursements applied equally to all providers while assuring all comprehensive and appropriate health care is delivered, and uses its clout to negotiate volume discounts for prescription drugs and medical equipment. 10. Public oversight. The public sets the policies and administers the system, not high priced CEOs meeting in secret and making decisions based on what inflates their compensation packages or stock wealth or company profits.

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  • Karen
    03/08/2017
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    Please do not let this sorry excuse for a health care bill get "rammed" through. There needs to be a lot more consideration (at the very least) taking place regarding Medicaid expansion and the adverse affect removing it will have on people who cannot afford life saving health care services. The Republicans have had how many years to create an alternate plan to improve the ACA and this is all they could come up with? Shame on you all!

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  • Steve
    03/08/2017
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    The Trump care bill, is just that, a bill to move money to insurance companies, and step harder on the poorest healthcare populous.

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  • Patricia
    03/09/2017
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    This new health care bill is REALLY AWFUL! Please, please, fight it and save as much of the existing ACA as you can. Trump, Ryan, McConnell, et al are screwing the American people. They don't give a damn about us. The fact that they are trying to ram this bill through Congress is a disgrace. And, while I'm at it, why isn't President Trump being investigated for his 38 new business deals with China when he is supposed to have ended this conflict of interest when he was sworn in as president? There are a lot of angry Americans, I am one, who vote and want you, our representatives to find your spines and do something to stop this insanity! The Republican Congress and the White House are in the process of ruining the best of America.

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  • Louise
    03/08/2017
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    Please oppose this bill. It is toxic for all, but mostly for poor people and senior citizens. As a retired public school teacher in Arizona, I am squarely in both categories. Please do support a Single Payer Medicare for All (as proposed by Bernie Sanders for many years. Thanks, Louise Peterson (85345)

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  • April
    03/08/2017
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    This new AHCA will give me less for more money. I am your constituent. AND I am a woman with a pre-existing condition that is over 55. Vote NO.

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  • Vilia
    03/08/2017
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    I strongly object to the American Health Care Act as it was introduced in the House. Iowa is a state that has a high proportion of seniors, and should guard against harming these citizens. In particular, I object to the age rating provisions that would result in a devastatingly increased "age tax" on older Americans, those most in need of medical insurance. The proposed tax credits do not even come close to offsetting these higher costs, thus exposing many more seniors to the risk of either going without health care insurance and/or more bankruptcies related to health care debt. Beyond that, the bill does nothing to control medication costs, regulate or monitor the insurance industry, and insultingly offers added tax credits for insurance executives. While we all realize that the ACA needs improvement, this bill contains provisions that will disproportionately negatively affect seniors, who disproportionately live in rural such as we have in Iowa. This needs to be fixed!

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