Presidential races

Obama: GOP doesn’t have ‘a hint’ of plan to replace ObamaCare

President Obama on Thursday mocked Republicans, saying they do not even have “a hint” of a plan to replace ObamaCare, despite vowing to repeal it. 

“They don’t even have a pretense of a plan,” Obama said at a campaign rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Miami, Fla. “They don’t even have a semblance of a plan. There’s not even a hint of a plan.”

{mosads}Obama touted that the law has expanded coverage to 20 million people who did not have it before. 

“They want to repeal, because ideologically they’re opposed to the idea of helping these 20 million people get health insurance,” he said. 

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have been seizing on premium increases under ObamaCare to call for a repeal of the law in the final weeks of the campaign.

Trump held a healthcare speech on Tuesday in Pennsylvania where he called for a special session of Congress to repeal the law. 

Obama on Thursday poked fun at that event. 

“Donald Trump said we’ve got to call a special session to repeal it, and he had a big press conference,” he said. 

“So they come and they spend like an hour, ‘Oh, we’re going to repeal ObamaCare.’ ” he added. “ ‘OK, and then what’re you going to do?’ ‘Well, then we’re going to repeal it, and we’re going to give you something great.’ ‘OK, what?’ ‘Well, something.’ ”

Trump has outlined a plan to replace ObamaCare on his campaign website, though it lacks many details. 

The businessman calls for allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and creating a tax deduction for health insurance premiums.

An analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that Trump’s plan would cause 21 million people to lose coverage and would add coverage for only around 1 million people.

Trump’s public comments on healthcare, though, have sometimes conflicted with the plan on his website, confounding experts.

House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have pointed to a plan to replace ObamaCare as part of their “Better Way” policy agenda.

That plan also lacks major details, like how big its tax credit to help people afford coverage would be, stifling efforts to assess the full budgetary effect or how many people would be covered. 

Both Ryan’s and Trump’s plans call for a system with less regulation of what insurance must cover, allowing for cheaper plans to be offered. Both plans would also do away with ObamaCare’s mandate to buy coverage. 

Trump’s and Ryan’s plans would protect people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage if they switch plans. ObamaCare goes further by also allowing uninsured people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage for the first time. 

Asked if Republican proposals do not count as even a “semblance” of a plan, the White House referred back to its statement in June when Ryan’s plan was released.

“The proposal introduced by Speaker Ryan is nothing more than vague and recycled ideas to take health insurance away from millions and increase costs for seniors and hardworking families,” White House spokeswoman Katie Hill said at the time.

Trump and Ryan point to ObamaCare’s premium increases, which are averaging 25 percent for a benchmark plan, as a major reason to repeal the healthcare law. 

Obama on Thursday acknowledged that premiums are a problem for the minority of people on ObamaCare plans who do not receive financial assistance to help afford coverage. 

About 15 percent of enrollees, or roughly 1.6 million people on the ObamaCare marketplaces, do not receive financial help. There are also about 7 million people who buy individual coverage outside of the marketplaces who are fully exposed to premium hikes. 

“Now, it is true,” Obama said. “Premiums are going up for a handful of people who don’t get tax credits. That’s important. We’re going to work as hard as we can to do something about it. We would have already done it if Republicans had helped.”

Updated: 2:11 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Paul Ryan
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