House Republicans introduced legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act on Monday night. The American Health Care Act attempts to deliver relief to the American people from Obamacare's taxes and regulatory mandates.
Republicans have introduced multiple proposals to replace Obamacare leading up to this point and now the American Health Care Act serves as the replacement that lawmakers, along with President Trump, have chosen to put before the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees this week for mark-up.
The act will keep some of Obamacare's popular provisions, including protecting individuals with preexisting conditions from the denial of coverage or increased costs and allowing young people to stay on their parents' plan until they are 26.
The act, however, will eliminate Obamacare's taxes and the individual and employer mandates, which Republicans say have hurt job creators, increased costs, and limited choices for patients and health care providers.
"Our plan delivers relief from all of Obamacare's taxes, including dismantling taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, health-insurance premiums, and medical devices," House Republicans said. "And we immediately eliminate the individual and employer mandate penalties, which forced millions of people into Obamacare plans they don't want and cannot afford."
Instead of offering subsidies to rein in the cost of premiums like the Affordable Care Act does, the House Republican plan offers a monthly tax credit between $2,000 and $14,000 a year for low- and middle-income individuals and families to help pay for health care.
The act expands the use of Health Savings Accounts by doubling the amount that individuals can contribute to it with the goal of allowing individuals to spend their money on health care the way they want to.
The act will also reform Medicaid by creating a new state-based private insurance marketplace that will have a "per capita allotment" for states to serve the patients that need it most. The act also provides states with $100 billion for a Patient and State Stability Fund, which helps low-income Americans afford health care.
Republicans are also assuring Americans who have received coverage through Obamacare that they won't lose it because of the new legislation.
"We are working to give all Americans peace of mind about their health care," House Republicans said. "We will have a stable transition toward a system that empowers patients with more choices and lower costs."
While critics have called the Republican replacement plan "Obamacare Lite," House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R., Texas) refuted this, saying the replacement is "Obamacare Gone."
"We repeal all those taxes, those mandates, those subsidies, there's nothing left there," Brady said. "We deliver on President Trump's promise to repeal and begin replacing with two big principles, one, restore state control of health care and get it out of Washington and also restore the free market, to give individuals the power and the freedom to choose a plan that's right for them."
After the replacement goes for mark-up at the two House committees on Wednesday, the legislation will go to the Budget Committee and be sent to the floor for a House vote.