Rand Paul unveils ObamaCare replacement

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE (R-Ky.) unveiled an ObamaCare replacement bill Wednesday as part of his effort to urge the GOP to speed up work on an alternative to the healthcare law.

Paul has been pushing his colleagues to have a replacement plan ready to pass simultaneously with repeal of ObamaCare, a demand that has recently been gaining support inside the party. His office noted that President Trump and Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term MORE (R-Wis.) have also reacted favorably to that idea.

“There is no excuse for waiting to craft an alternative until after we repeal Obamacare, and the Obamacare Replacement Act charts a new path forward that will insure the most people possible at the lowest price,” Paul said in a statement.

Paul’s plan comes the same week that two other Republican senators, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGun proposal picks up GOP support Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD MORE of Maine, introduced a different ObamaCare replacement, also with the hope of spurring their party to move forward on an alternative in addition to repealing the Affordable Care Act. That plan was more centrist, keeping ObamaCare’s taxes and letting states choose to keep the existing healthcare law if they wanted.

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Paul’s plan includes a tax credit of up to $5,000 per person to use as part of a Health Savings Account to pay for medical care. That tax credit appears to be larger than those offered in other Republican healthcare plans.

The plan would abolish many of the central elements of ObamaCare, including the mandate that everyone has coverage. It would eliminate the minimum standards for which health services an insurance plan must cover, which Republicans argue would allow for cheaper, less comprehensive plans.

It would also eliminate some of ObamaCare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Instead, Paul proposes a two-year period where people with pre-existing conditions could get coverage. After that, people with pre-existing conditions would be protected if they continuously maintained coverage. ObamaCare, on the other hand, also protects people who are uninsured and signing up for the first time.

The plan would retain the exclusion of employer-sponsored health plans from taxation, while adding a tax deduction for health insurance so that people buying insurance on their own could receive the same tax benefit.

This story was updated at 4:51 p.m.