Top Republicans unveil conservative alternative to ObamaCare deal

Top Republicans unveil conservative alternative to ObamaCare deal
© Greg Nash

Top Republicans in the House and Senate rejected a bipartisan deal to stabilize ObamaCare's insurance markets Tuesday, instead releasing their own, more conservative plan. 

A proposal from Senate Finance Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah) and House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyRepublicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea Republicans' rendezvous with reality — their plan is to cut Social Security The Social Security 2100 Act is critical for millennials and small business owners MORE (R-Texas) would fund key ObamaCare insurer payments, known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), for two years and temporarily repeal the law's individual and employer mandates. 

“As I have said all along, if Congress is going to appropriate funds for CSRs, we must include meaningful structural reforms that provide Americans relief from Obamacare,” Hatch said in a statement. 

The proposal goes a step further than a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate last week. That bill was negotiated with Democrats by Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar Alexander The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Liberal group urges Senate panel to vote against Scalia as Labor secretary Suburban anxiety drives GOP on guns MORE (R-Tenn.).

While both plans would fund the insurer payments through 2019, the Hatch-Brady plan stipulates that insurers must meet "pro-life" conditions to receive the funds. 

The first Senate plan doesn't touch ObamaCare's mandates, while the new proposal does. 

Under the Hatch-Brady plan, "relief" from ObamaCare's individual mandate would be provided from 2017 to 2021 and for the employer mandate from 2015 to 2017. 

The new plan would also increase the maximum contribution limit for health savings accounts. 

“Millions of families in Texas and across the country still trapped in Obamacare are desperately looking for relief — not a reinforcement of today’s failed status quo,” Brady said in a statement.

Some Republicans, like Hatch, have been critical of the bipartisan health plan for funding the insurer payments without making enough conservative changes.

President Trump has also expressed unease with the bipartisan plan, and some of the changes he has asked for are included in Hatch's proposal.

But Democrats aren't likely to support the Hatch-Brady plan. They argue repealing the mandates could destabilize the markets.