Republicans have unveiled their secret health care plan intended to replace the much-maligned Obamacare. But the “American Healthcare Act” was met with almost immediate scorn, from liberal activists, from conservative think tanks, from Congressional Republicans—even from the President.
The bill repeals most of the taxes and penalties levied by Obamacare—including the taxes on medical devices and tanning services (lovingly known as the “Snooki tax”). And it drops the cap on how much employers can deduct for providing healthcare plans for their employees.
But that’s about where the bill’s favorable characteristics end. The rest is a mess of tax credits, Medicare reforms, and reconfigured subsidies that keeps the state-based Obamacare markets operating.
There even appears to be a hidden “backdoor” health insurance mandate, despite the GOP’s complaints about Obamacare forcing those who don’t want health insurance to carry a policy.
Altogether missing from the plan were several of Donald Trump’s campaign promises: competition for health insurance across state lines, an expanded health insurance market, and a reconfigured prescription program that lower the price of key drugs.
The measure has already been lovingly labeled “#Trumpcare” by social media. For those that can decipher the bill’s complex language and weird scheme of tax credits and salary caps, none of it seems palatable.
A few critics even got a little dramatic, claiming that they would die with the new plan, or face an inevitable catastrophic illness. It’s unlikely that that’s the GOP’s intention.
The reception among lawmakers hasn’t been mixed. Among GOP lawmakers, eight Senators are already adamantly opposed to the bill, basically ensuring that the American Healthcare Act won’t pass Congress without significant changes.
Sens. Cory Gardner, Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski and Shelly Moore Capito say they won’t give their “yes” unless the bill explicitly protects Medicare benefits. Senator Rand Paul is marshaling opposition to the tax credits, calling them new entitlements, and Senator Susan Collins won’t be voting for the bill because it promises to defund Planned Parenthood for at least one year.
The conservative Heritage Foundation decried the bill as a “failure,” and encouraged Republicans to put forth a “genuine effort” to reform healthcare, rather than pursue the American Healthcare Act.
Even the President, on Twitter, said that the GOP’s bill was a starting point for negotiations, not necessarily a finished product.
He went on to promise a “phase 2 & 3” to be rolled out in the coming weeks.