House Republicans led by Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) released a plan on Wednesday to repeal and replace Obamacare.
While a number of lawmakers have put forth ideas to improve health care, this is the first time House Republicans have united to put their ideas into a single health care proposal, titled "A Better Way Health Care Plan."
The plan begins by repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, which would eliminate the individual mandate, other penalties associated with the health care law, and subsidies for low-income Americans. It would also stop the expansion of Medicaid.
The GOP proposal would provide a refundable tax credit to individuals without health care coverage through their employer and would not force them to purchase insurance through the exchanges.
"Unlike Obamacare, our proposal is like a health care ‘backpack’ that provides every American access to financial support for an insurance plan chosen by the individual and can be taken with them job-to-job, home to start a small business or raise a family, and even into retirement years," the proposal states. "For those who do not have access to job-based coverage, Medicare, or Medicaid, our plan provides a universal advanceable, refundable tax credit for individual and families, many of whom found themselves left behind under Obamacare."
Additionally, the proposal would allow individuals to purchase coverage across state lines, reward states for finding ways to lower premiums and the number of uninsured residents, expand consumer-driven health care by expanding Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts, preserve employee wellness programs, and provide $25 billion for states to set up high-risk pools for individuals with pre-existing conditions, among other provisions.
While there were no specific details on the plan’s cost or impact on premiums, a senior House GOP leadership aide said they expected substantial reductions in premiums and healthy job growth as a result of the proposal.
The aide said Obamacare focused on coverage and did not do anything about cost. The GOP plan attempts to rectify that by offering more choices for more consumers at a lower cost.
"Obamacare has limited choices for patients, driven up costs for consumers, and buried employers and health care providers under thousands of new regulations," the new proposal reads. "It forced people into expensive plans they did not want and put the government in charge of one of the most personal decisions families will ever make."
"Our plan advances a series of proposals that not only protects the health insurance Americans receive through their job, but also moves toward a fairer system that ensures access to coverage for all Americans," the proposal reads. "It allows for more choices, not top-down mandates, so that Americans can pick the benefit that works best for them."