Republican Senators Introduce Obamacare Replacement
Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) - two lawmakers who have been adamant that there must be a replacement plan soon after the law is repealed - introduced their version of an Obamacare replacement on Monday. It was quickly dismissed as an "empty facade" by the Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The proposal wouldn't fully repeal the law and would allow states to keep operating under the law if they choose. The legislation, known as the Patient Freedom Act, would shift the burden of administering insurance coverage to states through block-grant-style funding. It would allow states to decide whether they want the current system of state and federal insurance exchanges, new state-run marketplaces with tax-credit-funded health savings accounts or no federal funding at all. Every state would have access to the same level of funding that is available through Obamacare - regardless of whether the state actually expanded Medicaid.
The measure would repeal federal mandates that require individuals and business owners to buy insurance, shifting health-care decisions to governors and state legislatures. The plan does keep key benefits, such as a ban on insurers denying coverage based on preexisting conditions, allowing adult children to stay on their parents' plan until the age of 26, and free coverage for preventive care such as mammograms and childhood vaccines. However, to pay for all of these benefits, they would also need to keep the taxes in Obamacare that Republicans have long opposed.
By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance