Republican Study Committee Introduces Plan to Replace Obamacare

Patient-centered plan covers those with pre-existing conditions while attempting to lower costs

Phil Roe
Phil Roe / AP
January 5, 2017

Shortly after the Senate voted to pass a budget resolution that would repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Study Committee introduced an alternative plan to replace it.

Led by committee chair Rep. Mark Walker (R., N.C.), the group unveiled its replacement legislation, which is called The American Health Care Reform Act of 2017 (AHCRA), sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe (R., Tenn.).

"The most impressive, and the most popular alternative health care legislation, both in the 113th and the 114th Congress, is Dr. Phil Roe's American Health Care Reform Act," Walker said. "Dr. Phil Roe is uniquely qualified to lead our efforts to restore sanity to health care, and change the focus of our system away from bureaucratic mandates to compassionate care for patients by trusted doctors—paid for in a responsible way."

According to Roe, the legislation will make health insurance cheaper for small groups and individuals in three ways. The bill would allow people to buy insurance across state lines, allow people to have an association health plan, and would expand health savings accounts.

Roe's legislation will provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

"We look for very high-risk people," Roe said. "We fully fund the high risk pools, which we had working in the state of Tennessee until Obamacare came along."

He said the high-risk pools allowed people with costly pre-existing conditions such as breast cancer to buy insurance at the same rate as someone else could in that market.

Roe said his legislation is only 184 pages long, compared to the Affordable Care Act's 2,500 pages.

"You can read it in less than an hour," Roe said. "It took me days to read the Affordable Care Act."

Roe said the new legislation is very similar to the health care reform act that the Republican Study Committee introduced in 2015.

"Our goal in the [Republican Study Committee] is to be proactive and to fulfill the promises that we have made to the American people," Walker said. "This is round one of a fifteen-scheduled-round fight. Basically, as the conservative caucus is in the House, our job is to bat lead-off."

"Can we imagine or can we think of another piece of legislation that has failed more on its promises than Obamacare?" Walker asked. "Millions of people who were promised on multiple occasions they would never lose their insurance, have lower premiums, and could keep their trusted physicians and doctors."