US President Donald Trump expressed his satisfaction at the bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA)which House Republicans unveiled Monday night.
Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation," Trump wrote on his Twitter account. "ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster - is imploding fast."
Congressional Republicans have talked about repealing and replacing the ACA, which is better known as 'Obamacare,' for years. However, no replacement bills were ever submitted until last night.
The Affordable Care Act is rapidly collapsing,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. The replacement bill, he pledged, will “give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance.”
“Working together, this unified Republican government will deliver relief and peace of mind to the millions of Americans suffering under ObamaCare. This will proceed through a transparent process of regular order in full view of the public.”
The replacement bill drops the ACA’s most unpopular features, while retaining or modifying certain aspects of the original law. Low enrollment falling far short of the program's goal lead to failing health co-ops, while rising premiums kept enrollment from rising. Obama had promised Americans that they could keep their original health plans, but that turned out not to be the case for millions whose plans did not provide Obamacare's ten essential health benefits..
“We begin by repealing the awful taxes, the mandate penalties and the subsidies in ObamaCare,” House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady told Fox News.
Subsidies helping low income Americans purchase insurance will be substituted with tax credits, while the employer mandate and personal mandate will both be dropped.
The law also caps the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, limiting the additional funds to states for new Medicaid enrollees to cover those being covered prior to 2020.
"Today marks an important step toward restoring healthcare choices and affordability back to the American people,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, signaling the Trump administration’s support for the bill.
Congressional Democrats, however, slammed the bill. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused the Republican proposal of handing "billionaires a massive new tax break while shifting huge costs and burdens onto working families across America."
While Democrats control 48 seats in the Senate, enough to employ a filibuster, Republicans have introduced the bill as part of a budget reconciliation, a form of legislation which limits debate in the Senate, thus barring use of the filibuster and allowing a simple up-or-down vote.
The original 2010 ACA bill was also passed via a budget reconciliation, avoiding a likely Republican filibuster.