Conservative GOP lawmakers back ObamaCare replacement

Conservative GOP lawmakers back ObamaCare replacement
© Greg Nash

The conservative House Freedom Caucus backed an ObamaCare replacement plan Wednesday that would abolish many central elements of the law, including the mandate that everyone has coverage or pay a fine.

The replacement proposal, introduced by Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulHealthcare fight pits Trump against Club for Growth GOP rep: Trump could be 'one-term president' if healthcare bill passes Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief urges Congress to approve budget boost | Senate fight over NATO addition MORE (R-Ky.), would also eliminate the essential benefits an insurance plan must cover and eliminate some of ObamaCare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The plan would include a tax credit of up to $5,000 per person to fund part of a Health Savings Account to pay for medical care, as well as a provision to allow insurers to sell policies across state lines.

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) will introduce a companion of Paul's bill in the House. 

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the 40-member House Freedom Caucus, said the replacement proposal will fix a shattered healthcare system. 

"It will finally be able to address many of the concerns that we're hearing whether it's at town halls or personal calls," Meadows said. 

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The announcement comes as the caucus urges Republican leadership to put up for a vote the 2015 repeal bill that passed the Republican-controlled Congress in 2015 but never received a presidential signature. That bill would have eliminated ObamaCare’s subsidies, taxes, mandates and Medicaid expansion.

The caucus voted Monday night to oppose any repeal bill that does not go as far as the 2015 repeal bill. 

The announcement also comes as Republicans struggle to coalesce around a repeal and replace strategy.

Republican leadership have indicated they may include some elements of replacement in the repeal bill, while Freedom Caucus members say replacement should be done separately.