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Who Will Win the Obamacare Replacement Battle?
01/21/2017 Donald Trump Mark M
keywords: Congress Health Care Repeal ObamaCare

Now that Donald J. Trump is President of the United States, it is time for him to begin to govern and give those who voted for him what they wanted. One of the many things he promised and his supporters craved was an end to Obamacare. As it turns out, some people, recently exposed on talk shows and social media, didn’t know that Trump’s promise to end Obamacare was the same as promising to end the Affordable Care Act, something they wholeheartedly support.

Trump spoke in generalities during the campaign regarding health insurance. However, after the election, he told reporters that he planned to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better. We don’t know what Trump’s idea of better will be exactly. Yet, we do know what his Republican colleagues’ idea of better thanks to several years of attempting to repeal the ACA themselves.

There are dozens of health care proposals, some have yet to be turned into actual legislation. The major bills with the best chance to succeed the ACA are of course proposed by the GOP leadership.

Rep. Paul Ryan’s Better Way for Health Care

The Speaker of the House of Representatives has been the most prominent Obamacare opponent, and his “Better Way” plan is the flagship of GOP health care reform in the House. The plan’s buzzwords are innovation, choice and flexibility. The plan also promises to protect the neediest among us.

Ryan’s promise to protect the neediest calls for privatizing Medicare. It’s an idea considered too politically dangerous for most Republican politicians. Moreover, Trump has proclaimed he wouldn’t touch the program. The spending averse Ryan claims his plan would save the government in the long run, but Republicans could be worried it wouldn’t save their jobs in the short term.

Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Patient CARE Act

Hatch’s plan is predictable more of an old-fashioned attempt to please everyone, as opposed to Ryan’s bad tasting medicine. The Hatch bill includes insurance reforms, health care tax credits and tort reform for malpractice cases. Hatch comes not to bury Medicare, but to reform it, making his plan somewhat more viable than Ryan’s.

Sen. Ted Cruz’s Health Care Choice Act

Sen. Cruz’s plan, focused on allowing consumers to buy health insurance plans in a different state than the one they live in. It saves the ACA’s Medicare expansion but jettisons the meat of the law, like pre-existing conditions coverage and insurance subsidies. Cruz’s plan appears to fit in with Trump’s promise to “repeal and replace.” However, his plan isn’t likely to receive much support from the President thanks to their personal animosity.

According to a Washington Post piece, the major Republican plans would make obtaining health insurance more difficult and costly for those who aren't young, healthy and independently wealthy. Whether Trump believes this is anyone’s guess, as he has yet to outline specific details about a plan of his own. His press secretary Sean Spicer did say that Trump has been thinking about “negotiating deals” with drug makers and allowing you to buy insurance across state lines, like Cruz’s plan.

Yet, Trump may not have to decide. His pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price put forth his own plan last year. Price, a medical doctor, proposed replacing the ACA with reforms similar to those Sen. Cruz advanced in his bill. Price’s plan includes keeping Obamacare’s protections for person with preexisting conditions, using tax credits and health savings accounts to help people pay for insurance and most of the provisions in lieu of Medicaid and subsidies. Perhaps Trump’s pick of Price already answered the question regarding which GOP plan will replace Obamacare.

health care, obamacare, Affordable care act

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