Conservative groups blast GOP healthcare plan

Outside conservative groups on Tuesday blasted House Republicans’ newly unveiled healthcare proposal, saying it doesn’t live up to the GOP’s promise of fully repealing ObamaCare.

The Club for Growth dubbed the proposal “RyanCare” and threatened to record names of Republicans who vote for the bill unless it includes significant changes.

Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity, a group aligned with billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, also issued scathing statements highly critical of the "American Health Care Act," which was released on Monday.

FreedomWorks panned the GOP bill as "ObamaCare-Lite," while AFP labeled it "ObamaCare 2.0."

“This is simply not a full repeal of ObamaCare. It falls far short of the promises Republicans made to the American people in four consecutive federal elections,” AFP President Tim Phillips said in a phone interview Tuesday.

“The proposed legislation trades one form of government subsidy for another government subsidy, and doesn’t roll back the mandate of ObamaCare. It's a poor first attempt.”

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The seemingly coordinated statements — all released within an hour of each other — from these four big-money, influential conservative groups create a huge headache for Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Lawmakers consider new security funding in wake of shooting Paul Ryan: ‘Beautiful day’ to catch up with Bono MORE (R-Wis.) and the two authors of the House bill: Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin BradyOvernight Cybersecurity: Trump tweetstorm on Russia probe | White House reportedly pushing to weaken sanctions bill | Podesta to testify before House Intel Senate expected to pass Russia sanctions bill for a second time White House pressuring House GOP to weaken Russia sanctions bill: report MORE (R-Texas).

Assuming all members vote and all Democrats vote no, it would take 22 House GOP defections to kill the bill, which has the White House's support. Just three Republican votes could sink the legislation in the Senate.

Two Tea Party darlings, Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump called Cruz to press him on ObamaCare repeal bill: report Trump tells Democrats they need ‘courage’ to fix ObamaCare Fifth GOP senator announces opposition to healthcare bill MORE (R-Ky.) and Mike LeeMike LeeTrump called Cruz to press him on ObamaCare repeal bill: report Trump tells Democrats they need ‘courage’ to fix ObamaCare Fifth GOP senator announces opposition to healthcare bill MORE (R-Utah), have already come out against the GOP plan, as have former House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and conservative Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashRepublicans slam Trump’s new policy toward Cuba Kids shouldn't be charged as sex offenders Dem: Disrespect for rule of law by Trump administration 'off the charts' MORE (R-Mich.) and Dave Brat (R-Va.). 

Many on the right are objecting to the plan’s refundable tax credits, which would replace ObamaCare insurance subsidies.

“If it’s a new federal plan, I do not like it because the federal government has shown itself unable to constrain itself when it comes to fiscal matters,” Brat told The Hill. “As a result, Medicare and Social Security are insolvent and our health system will be next.”

Club for Growth said it will “key vote” the bill, meaning it will include how lawmakers vote on it when calculating grades for members of Congress, and whip votes against the House proposal unless major changes are made.

“The problems with this bill are not just what’s in it, but also what’s missing: namely, the critical free-market solution of selling health insurance across state lines,” Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement. “Such an injection of competition would lead to hundreds of billions of dollars in savings, nullifying any argument by Congressional Republicans that this provision cannot be included in the current bill.

“Republicans should be offering a full and immediate repeal of Obamacare’s taxes, regulations, and mandates, an end to the Medicaid expansion, and inclusion of free-market reforms, like interstate competition.”

Brady, a main architect of the bill, pushed back on the conservative objections at a joint news conference with Walden on Tuesday.

Brady said the bill is similar to legislation from then-Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), now secretary of Heath and Human Services, which "had 84 cosponsors including members and leaders of the Freedom Caucus, the RSC and the Republican conference."

"As Republicans we have a choice,” Brady said. “We can act now or we can keep fiddling around and squander this opportunity to repeal ObamaCare and begin a new chapter for the American people.”

Fresh from an anti-ObamaCare rally by the Capitol, AFP’s Phillips warned that there will be electoral consequences for Republicans if they don’t fully repeal the current health law. He said 88 percent of House Republicans have previously voted for full repeal in the past, as have 97 percent of Senate Republicans.

“This is not a new issue. It’s been out there for eight years and Republicans have been unambiguous about repealing ObamaCare,” Phillips told The Hill. “The American people took their word for it and gave them the largest majority in the House. 

‘But this will be shortest-lived majority in the modern era if they fail to fully repeal ObamaCare.”

In addition to ripping the House plan, FreedomWorks national director of campaigns, Noah Wall, also called out four GOP senators — Rob PortmanRob PortmanA tale of two drug bills — one proposed bill will worsen the drug prices crisis Sanders to headline 'Don't Take Our Health Care' bus tour Rocky rollout for Senate healthcare bill MORE (Ohio), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoSanders to headline 'Don't Take Our Health Care' bus tour The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill What’s in the Senate healthcare bill MORE (W.V.), Cory GardnerCory GardnerPence meets with Koch brother in Colorado The Hill's 12:30 Report North Korea tests rocket engine for ICBM MORE (Colo.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiGOP Medicaid cuts will be disastrous for millions with Alzheimer’s Overnight Healthcare: Latest on Senate healthcare bill | Four conservatives say they'll oppose | Obama slams bill | Health groups offer scathing criticism The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (Alaska) — for saying they could not support the House bill because it did not assist people in their states who are covered by ObamaCare’s expanded Medicaid program.

"Sens. Portman, Capito, Gardner, and Murkowski would be in jail with Bernie Madoff if they had orchestrated such a fraud in the private sector. They have scammed the American people,” Wall said in a statement.

“They supported a strong repeal bill when they knew President Obama would never sign it, and now they won’t support the same language because President Trump might sign it.”

The Trump administration formally backed the GOP plan in a letter Tuesday, with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price writing that it would serve as a good first step. 

"These proposals offer patient-centered solutions that will provide all Americans with access to affordable, quality healthcare, promote innovation and offer peace of mind for those with pre-existing conditions," Price wrote.

—Updated at 1:47 p.m.