It is not so surprising to see that both conservatives and liberals have their own problems with the House GOP healthcare legislation unveiled on Monday, but it’s nonetheless something Republicans are going to have to deal with. Over the last year, the party has made too many promises and has split into too many factions to come up with a bill that satisfies everyone.
House Republicans should be able to pass the repeal-and-replace legislation, however, unless we see a major revolt from the conservative Freedom Caucus. But once it heads over to the Senate, Mitch McConnell is going to have his hands full trying to put it on the president’s desk. Already, several Republican senators have expressed reservations about the details of the bill.
Sen. Rand Paul tweeted, “Still have not seen an official version of the House Obamacare replacement bill, but from media reports this sure looks like Obamacare Lite!”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, four Republicans from Medicaid-expansion states have said they will not vote for any plan that takes health insurance away from currently-covered constituents.
“We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states,” wrote Sens. Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, Cory Gardner, and Lisa Murkowski in a joint letter to McConnell.
The plan itself is considerably more conservative than the ACA, but it is still a mish-mosh of compromises. Gone is the individual mandate, but individuals with pre-existing conditions are still given immunity from rejection. The bill will allow children to stay on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26, like Obamacare. Most controversially, for conservatives, the plan includes means-tested tax credits for low-income Americans, though in a different form than those offered under Obamacare.
Frankly, we think that it’s not really the right time for conservatives to poke holes in this bill – especially not until we see what it’s going to look like in its final form. This is, at the very least, a small step in the right direction. Republicans not only have to get this past Democrats, they have to satisfy legions of Trump supporters who don’t fully identify with “small government” philosophy. And this bill will at least take us further in the direction of private-market solutions and away from the socialist goals of the Democratic Party. Is it perfect? No. Is it a start? Yes.