GOP Bill Would Repeal Obamacare Taxes And Penalties, Keep Some Subsidies
The Republican plan to reshape the Affordable Care Act — what they call "repeal and replace" — kills the requirement that everyone buy health insurance by eliminating the tax penalty for those who don't have coverage. It also makes significant changes in the financial assistance people can receive to buy a health plan.
"Our legislation transfers power from Washington back to the states," said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, in a statement. "We dismantle Obamacare's damaging taxes and mandates so states can deliver quality affordable options."
The bill would offer tax credits, refundable in advance, to people with incomes below $75,000. But those credits will be lower in many cases than the subsidies now offered in the ACA.
The bill, which will go through many revisions and challenges, was released late Monday by two House committees, Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce. Members are expected to start voting on parts of the bill Wednesday.
Four Republican Senators wrote a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying they were concerned an early draft of the House plan would not adequately protect people who have insurance through Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. And Senator Rand Paul was among three conservative Republicans who criticized an earlier version of the bill as "Obamacare lite."
Under the proposed bill, tax credits would start at $2,000 a year for individuals under age 30, rising to $4,000 for those of 60. The proposal, first seen in Feb. 10 draft of the bill, has been criticized as too meager to cover the full cost of a health insurance plan that provides full benefits.
But the proposed tax credit could potentially pay for insurance that protects only against a catastrophic health event.
They would begin to be phased out at incomes of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for families.
To encourage people to buy coverage, the plan allows insurers to charge a 30 percent penalty to people who let their insurance lapse, and then try to buy a new policy.
In states that expanded Medicaid, people who are eligible can continue to enroll until January 1, 2020, and those states would continue to benefit from the federal government paying a greater share of the health costs of those beneficiaries. - More, NPR