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 RyanTrump: GOP health plan will bring 'real healthcare' and 'tumbling' premiums Congress, the time is now for tax reform to get our economy moving Pelosi: 'Of course' Dems can be against abortion 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 BradyCongress, the time is now for tax reform to get our economy moving Mnuchin: Trump orders take aim at Dodd-Frank, tax regs Tax reform hearing appears to be delayed 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 PaulWe can put America first by preventing public health disasters Conservative activists want action from Trump McConnell: 'Big challenge' to pass ObamaCare repeal in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) and Mike LeeMike LeeTrump should work with Congress to block regulations on prepaid cards Sweeping change at DOJ under Sessions Executive orders alone can't create sustainable deregulatory change 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 AmashGreens take climate fight to GOP town halls US pressure on Saudis can help promote peace in Yemen Who will replace Chaffetz on Oversight? 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 PortmanFive things to know about Trump's steel order Mexico: Recent deportations 'a violation' of US immigration rules EPA union asks Pruitt for meeting over talk of closing office MORE (Ohio), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoEconomic adjustment strategies for the 21st Century Coal-country advocates push aid for jobless miners ‘Nuclear’ cloud looms over Trump agenda MORE (W.V.), Cory GardnerCory GardnerPicking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Taiwan deserves to participate in United Nations Reversal: Some Republicans now defending parts of ObamaCare MORE (Colo.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Alaska senators push bill to allow Arctic drilling 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.