Conservative are railing against the GOP's healthcare bill as 'Obamacare lite' -- here are their biggest gripes

Conservative Republicans, groups, and media outlets are not happy with the House GOP leadership’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The right-leaning entities have dubbed the new plan — officially named the American Health Care Act — “Obamacare-lite” because it preserves what they consider to be objectionable parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Rand Paul tweeted his displeasure with the law on Tuesday for not going far enough in repeal.

“House leadership plan is Obamacare Lite,” Paul tweeted. “It will not pass. Conservatives are not going to take it.”

In addition to lawmakers in the House Freedom Caucus and more conservative-leaning senators, grassroots groups — from the Club for Growth to Heritage Action to the Cato Institute — have also attacked the bill. President Donald Trump is set to meet with some of those groups at the White House later Wednesday.

“Many Americans seeking health insurance on the individual market will notice no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act,” Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham said Tuesday. “That is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy.”

Even conservative, pro-Trump media outlets and commentators — such as Breitbart, the Drudge Report, and Ann Coulter — seemed unimpressed (at best) with the AHCA.

Here are their biggest concerns:

  • It would include tax credits. Conservatives say the tax credits to purchase health insurance in the AHCA — which range from $US2,000 a year for young people to $US4,000 a year for Americans over age 60 — are simply a “Republican entitlement” and will worsen the US fiscal deficit.
  • It would not repeal Medicaid expansion completely. The ACA allowed states to expand Medicaid — the government insurance program for low-income people — to those making 138% above the federal poverty line, which led to more than 11 million people getting insurance. Conservatives believe that this expansion should be repealed as it puts too much of the burden on the government. The AHCA does not totally repeal the provision, instead shifting the funding to per-capita block grants after 2019.
  • It would not not roll back all ACA regulations. The bill still keeps the essential health benefit requirements in place, meaning insurers must cover certain types of care in order to qualify their plans for the individual marketplaces. Conservatives favour getting rid of these baselines to allow insurers to offer cheaper plans that cover a smaller set of health issues.

Conservative lawmakers plan to introduce a law that would repeal the ACA completely, which they say the AHCA does not do, while bringing along a replacement bill shortly behind.

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