Federal Issues

Heritage Action Sentinel Items – 3/13/2017

The House and Senate are both in session, but the late winter storm rolling through the mid-Atlantic could alter votes and committee activity. That could impact Wednesday’s scheduled House Budget Committee markup of the House GOP’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. If passed by the committee, the bill will head to the House floor for consideration and then the Senate where it can pass with a simple majority, allowing President Trump to sign it into law.

In many ways, the House Republican proposal – the American Health Care Act (AHCA) – not only accepts the flawed progressive premises of Obamacare but expands upon them. Click here to read 5 Reasons why the GOP’s Obamacare Plan Isn’t Real Repeal and here to read why the House Republican Health Care Bill Misses the Mark.


Key action items for this week:

Several conservative lawmakers from both the House and Senate vowed to fight the Ryan plan. (3/7/17) Conservative Lawmakers to Use Their ‘Enormous Power’ to Fight Obamacare Replacement Bill

They plan to re-introduce legislation that totally repeals Obamacare, the same bill that Congress passed in 2015.

Urge your Representative and Senators to support the 2015 plan when it is reintroduced.


More Detail:

Obamacare Repeal: House Republican Leadership released a bill last week to repeal and replace Obamacare named the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which unfortunately falls short of fully repealing Obamacare. The Republican proposal not only maintains the overall regulatory framework of Obamacare, but also subsidizes that regulatory framework through a new refundable tax credits aimed to help individuals buy their own health care plans. It also fails to repeal the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and fails to prevent individuals from using tax credits to pay for abortion services.

There are serious concerns as to whether this bill will lower the cost of health insurance, especially to those on the individual markets that have been decimated by Obamacare. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“In many ways, the House Republican proposal … not only accepts the flawed progressive premises of Obamacare but expands upon them. Ronald Reagan once said, ‘Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.’ The AHCA does all three.

“Many Americans seeking health insurance on the individual market will notice no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act.  That is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy.

“Rather than accept the flawed premises of Obamacare, congressional Republicans should fully repeal the failed law and begin a genuine effort to deliver on longstanding campaign promises that create a free market health care system that empowers patients and doctors.”

Conservatives in Congress including Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows (R-NC), Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-NC), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), as well as Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rand Paul (R-KY) have all raised serious concerns about the bill. Rep. Mark Walker said: “The draft legislation risks continuing major Obamacare entitlement expansions and delays any reforms. It kicks the can down the road in the hope that a future Congress will have the political will and fiscal discipline to reduce spending that this Congress apparently lacks.”

Many conservatives are encouraging House Republican leadership to, at the minimum, re-pass the 2015 Obamacare repeal bill (H.R. 3762) that was supported by nearly every Republican and vetoed by President Obama, and then pass conservative health care reform.

Unfortunately due to disagreement over replace, the Obamacare repeal timeline continues to slip. Further delays will push repeal into the congressional Easter recess and dangerously close to when the federal government runs out of funding on April 28th and when insurance companies must submit proposed premiums for 2018 Obamacare plans on May 3rd.

Timeline for congressional action:

Week of March 15: Markup in House Budget Committee

Week of March 20: House consideration

Week of March 27: Senate consideration

Week of April 3: Possible House consideration of Senate amended bill


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