House Republicans unveiled their long awaited legislation to repeal key portions of Obamacare, including the law’s expansion of Medicaid for the poor and its subsidies to help people buy coverage, along with it mandates for people to have insurance.
The tax credit would range from $2,000 to $4,000 a year, increasing with individuals’ age. The system would provide less financial assistance for the poor and older people than Obamacare, but could possibly increase assistance to younger people and those with higher incomes.
Democrats have warned that the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and the lower tax credit for low income people could jeopardize insurance coverage for many of the 20 million people who gained healthcare from the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans actually acknowledge that their plan will cover fewer people, pointing out that unlike Obamacare, their proposal would not force people to buy coverage through a mandate. They claim that their system is less intrusive. However, by their own admission, not only will people lose coverage in their proposal, but it is hard for the GOP to justify lower premiums. In fact, due to the flat tax credits and the lower amount of assistance, individuals are almost assured of higher premiums.
House committees are expected to vote on the measures this week, with a vote from the full House of Representatives to follow shortly after that.
However, based on divisions within the Republican party, the measure faces an uphill battle not only in the House, but particularly in the Senate where the Republican majority is much more fragile. Earlier on Monday, Four Republican senators objected to a version of the bill which was leaked last week, saying that it failed to protect Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
In the House of Representatives, the conservative wing of the party, the House Freedom Caucus, has called the bill’s tax credit a “new entitlement.” That caucus has enough votes to kill the bill. However, it is not clear that they will actually vote against it.