The House of Representatives’ much anticipated plan to “repeal and replace” Obamacare finally has been unveiled. House Speaker Paul Ryan boldly guaranteed that the American Health Care Act (“AHCA”) will have 218 votes by the time it gets to the House floor. Despite the Speaker’s optimism, individuals and entities from all sides of the political spectrum have had the same reaction to the proposed legislation: They do not like it one bit. Members of the House Freedom Caucus in particular have challenged Speaker Ryan’s prediction. According to Republican Mo Brooks, “[Speaker Ryan] is going to need a lot of Democrat votes to pass what would be the largest welfare program sponsored in the history of the Republican Party.”
The prospect of democratic support for the legislation does not appear to be realistic. House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi did not mince words when describing the proposed bill, “[w]hat they’re doing is very destructive. … It represents the biggest shift of money to the wealthiest people in our country, the top 1 percent, at the cost of working families.” Criticism of the AHCA has not been limited to politicians. Many of America’s largest hospital and health systems recently co-signed a letter opposing the AHCA. Numerous industry stakeholders, interest groups, and conservative and progressive organizations alike have publicly joined the chorus of critics.
This week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) reported that the bill could leave 14 million more people uninsured next year. By 2026, 10 million more Americans would be uninsured under the AHCA’s scheme. Reeling from the negative CBO report, the White House quickly sought to cast doubt on the office’s credibility.
In stark contrast to the actual provisions of the AHCA, President Trump has been very clear about what he expects from any plan that replaces Obamacare:
We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us. People covered under the law can expect to have great health care. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.
What do you think? Will the House Pass the American Health Care Act?
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