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 PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Lawmakers struggle with how to punish Saudi Arabia | Trump regrets not visiting Arlington for Veterans Day | North Korea deports detained American Hillicon Valley: Facebook reeling after NYT report | Dems want DOJ probe | HQ2 brings new scrutiny on Amazon | Judge upholds Russian troll farm indictments | Cyber moonshot panel unveils recommendations 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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.