DNC chairman: ‘Reckless’ repeal plan shows GOP clueless on health policy

DNC chairman: ‘Reckless’ repeal plan shows GOP clueless on health policy
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The chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Wednesday bashed the GOP’s plan to repeal ObamaCare, warning of lost insurance coverage, lesser benefits and higher costs for people benefitting under the current law.
 
Tom Perez, newly elected to head the DNC, portrayed the Republicans as political opportunists who, after years attacking ObamaCare and promising a better plan, have little idea how to proceed since winning control of Congress and the White House simultaneously.
 
“This is the dog that ... caught the car,” Perez told reporters in the Capitol. “They caught the car and now they don’t know what to do with the car because they realize that their alternative facts of the last eight years — ‘the Affordable Care Act is a job killer’ — are [on] a collision course with reality, which is that the Affordable Care Act is a lifesaver.” 
 
The comments came moments before the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees began marking up the Republicans’ legislative alternative. 
 
Introduced Monday evening, the GOP proposal would eliminate ObamaCare's requirements that everyone purchase insurance and that companies offer it; tax subsidies to pay for coverage; and Medicaid expansion. It would replace them with a system of tax credits to help people pay for insurance if they choose to buy it.
 
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GOP leaders have said for years that ObamaCare would stifle competition among insurers, resulting in more limited coverage options and higher costs. They’re touting their replacement legislation as a free-market solution that would correct those problems.
 
“While ... ObamaCare has helped some, it has inflicted tremendous harm on more families, workers, and job creators nationwide,” Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyRepublicans' rendezvous with reality — their plan is to cut Social Security The Social Security 2100 Act is critical for millennials and small business owners House panel releases documents of presidential tax return request before Trump MORE (R-Texas), chairman of the Ways and Means panel, said Wednesday at the start of the markup process. 
 
The Republican plan, he added, will “empower individuals and families by providing them — not Washington — with control over their health care dollars and decisions.”
 
The Democrats disagree, framing the repeal debate as a kind of class warfare and accusing the Republicans of stealing health coverage and benefits from the working class in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. 
 
“Why is it that the Republicans are hell-bent on making it harder for people to get access to healthcare? It’s because they want to give a noxious tax break to wealthy people,” Perez said. “And these are the people who have benefitted the most in the last 30 years. They don’t need it.”
 
The Democrats are highlighting recent comments by Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzHouse Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke GOP senators decline to criticize Acosta after new Epstein charges MORE (R-Utah) as indicative of the Republicans’ thinking. Chaffetz on Tuesday said the GOP’s proposal to eliminate the insurance mandate leaves Americans “to make a choice” — one that, for lower income folks, might mean choosing between buying health coverage and “that new iPhone that they just love.” 
 
“They've got to make those decisions themselves,” he said in an interview with CNN.
 
The Democrats have pounced, accusing Republicans of being clueless about middle-class needs.
 
When Chaffetz said “people had to choose between a cellphone and healthcare, that kind of said it all for me,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who appeared with Perez at Wednesday’s press briefing. 
 
“The Republicans are saying you cannot have both in this most richest country in the history of the world — you’ve got to pick one or the other — showing how out of touch they are with working people.”
 
Perez huddled with House Democrats on Wednesday morning in the Capitol, where the primary focus of the discussion was the Democrats’ plan to defend ObamaCare, which passed without a single Republican vote in 2010.
 
They’re already getting plenty of help from a number of conservatives on and off Capitol Hill, who are hammering the Republicans’ plan as a watered-down version of former President Obama's reform law.
 
Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashLawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Sanford headed to New Hampshire amid talk of challenge to Trump MORE (R-Mich.) has emerged as one of the sharpest critics of the GOP bill, characterizing it disparagingly as “ObamaCare 2.0” and accusing GOP leaders of trying to “ram” the proposal through Congress — the same language Republicans used in criticizing the passage of ObamaCare seven years ago. 
 
A number of Republican lawmakers have faced a harsh backlash at district town-hall events in recent weeks, largely from constituents benefiting from ObamaCare and concerned about the effects of repeal. Perhaps with that in mind, GOP leaders are rushing their repeal legislation through Congress without hearings in either chamber. 
 
The condensed timeline has not been overlooked by the Democrats, who are urging a delay in any votes until the Congressional Budget Office releases its impact analysis of the GOP bill on cost and coverage.
 
“You don’t even know the fiscal impact of the bill you’re prepared to vote on in committee today. That’s the definition of reckless. That’s the definition of ‘ready, fire, aim,’ ” Perez charged. 
 
“And that is why you see millions of people across this country rallying.”