Remember when Obamacare was before Congress and Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi famously said the bill should be passed so taxpayers could find out “what’s in it”?
After Democrats passed the 2,300-page legislation, the Obama administration crafted tens of thousands of regulations and rules. Then, Obama issued a series of executive orders to make the failing plan work.
Now, with the Republicans proposing yet another “repeal and replace” plan, it’s clear that unraveling such a complex piece of legislation isn’t easy.
One of the groups that has battled the takeover of the American health care system from the beginning is the American Center for Law and Justice. Its experts have complied a big list of the bill’s changes and their potential impact.
ACLJ calls the current Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill the “final attempt” by the GOP to repeal Obamacare this year.
The group warns that time is of the essence because the reconciliation process that allows the Senate leadership to pass the reform with a simple majority vote expires on Sept. 30.
“After this, there is no chance that the unified left will allow any reform through Senate,” ACLJ said.
“In short, Graham-Cassidy converts $1.2 trillion of Obamacare subsidies and spending into block grants for States to craft healthcare plans to address the needs of its citizens. The bill also ends Obamacare mandates and defunds Planned Parenthood.”
The organization cited six major changes:
- It would end the individual and employer mandates to obtain health care insurance by simply eliminating the penalties.
- The GOP would convert Obama’s Medicaid expansion into block grants to the states. First, the aid would be allocated on a per capita basis instead of favoring Democratic-leaning states. It also would provide a short-term assistance program for providing health benefits and access during a transition period and end up providing “merit-based” funding to states for “nearly any legitimate healthcare need.”
- It could end three key Obamacare taxes: the medical device tax, the tax on over-the-counter medication and the tax on health savings accounts. It would leave in place other taxes, specifically on people making over $200,000, investment income and health insurers.
- It would require coverage for pre-existing conditions and ban annual or lifetime caps but would allow states to apply for waivers if they protect those who would be affected. The states could do this by providing premium assistance programs or subsidizing out-of-pocket expenses.
- The plan would boost health savings accounts, to which taxpayers can contribute tax-free and then use for expenses. Under ObamaCare, the amount was limited to $3,400 for individuals and $6,750 for families. Instead, Graham-Cassidy would increase this to $6,650 for individuals and $13,300 for families. The report said those funds also could be used for premiums.
- And the changes would defund Planned Parenthood, because “it defines abortion providers with more than $1 million in annual Medicaid reimbursements as a ‘prohibited entity’ for one year, denying them from being reimbursed by Medicaid. It effectively would prevent approximately $400 million of taxpayer funding from flowing to Planned Parenthood. It also would bar any plan that covers abortions, except in the case of rape, incest or the health of the mother, from reimbursement. The ACLJ analysis said those two abortion defunding tracks “provide the strongest pro-life protections of any of the recent Obamacare repeal efforts.”
Politico reported the president was warning Republicans that anyone who opposes the changes would be known as the “Republican who saved Obamacare.”
One current opponent is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who said the bill doesn’t go far enough. Other swing votes are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona.