Conservative critics view bill as Obamacare-lite, but House Ways and Means Committee moves forward
When current House Speaker Paul Ryan became Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election, few outside of his home state had heard of the Wisconsin congressman. Romney promoted Ryan as a numbers cruncher and policy wonk. Though the Republicrat ticket crashed and burned, Ryan’s aspirations did not. Although his 2016 support for Trump was tepid, Ryan shrewdly dropped the anti-Trump Romney when it became apparent the businessman was poised to win the GOP nomination.
As House Republicans rolled out their Obamacare replacement, Ryan’s calculated political caution was nowhere to be seen. Many of his conservative colleagues have expressed dissatisfaction with the legislation bearing the speaker’s personal stamp of approval.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have been vocal in their disapproval. An example is U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) who condemned the leadership bill in a two-word tweet: “Obamacare 2.0.” The full Freedom Caucus includes over two dozen members of the 237 in the House Republican majority. If they voted as a bloc, they could sink the bill on their own. Arizona Congressmen Trent Franks (CD-8), Paul Gosar (CD-4) and David Schweikert (CD-6) are members of the group.
The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon called the healthcare bill, “a train wreck waiting to happen. It is remarkable that they’ve produced a bill that is so out of touch with ACA opponents,” Cannon said. “The House Republican leadership bill does not replace Obamacare. It merely applies a new coat of paint to a building that Republicans themselves have already condemned.”
Edmund F. Haislmaier, a Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an acknowledged expert and adviser in health care policy has written an analysis of the recently released draft House health care bill, “House Republican Health Care Bill Misses the Mark.”
The issue is complex, and putting a Band-Aid on Obamacare is the last thing the Republican controlled Congress should be considering. President Trump and Republican House and Senate majorities were elected in large part by citizens who believed their declarations of a full repeal of Obamacare, and their vows to replace it with free-market reforms.
But the rush is on. Step one, funding, was addressed by the House Ways and Means Committee this morning. This is the press release issued today by House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX). The bill was approved along party lines after debating the draft legislation nearly 18 hours. The full committee can be seen here.