House Resets Obamacare Repeal Debate

Washington — This afternoon, the House cancelled a scheduled vote on  the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628). The bill would partially repeal and partially amend Obamacare, while leaving its core regulatory architecture in place. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“The bill is disaster on nearly every front and opposed by nearly every serious conservative health care analyst. The AHCA failed to repeal Obamacare’s regulatory architecture, which Heritage has found to increase premiums by a national average of 44.5 to 68 percent. This week’s events were unfortunate, but it is now clear that no bill can pass the House unless these regulatory problems are addressed.

“Throughout this process, conservatives acted in good faith to deliver on longstanding campaign promises. Unfortunately, it became apparent this week that many supporters of the bill were hiding behind faux procedural concerns to avoid the substantive divides in the Republican conference over maintaining Obamacare’s regulatory architecture. Today’s events gives conservatives a chance to reset that debate.”

Related:
Daily Signal: Broad Criticism Against GOP Health Bill
Heritage Action Key Vote: “NO” on American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628)

AHCA: A Disaster on Policy, Process and Politics

Washington — After years of pledging to repeal Obamacare, House Republicans will vote on the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628) today. The bill would partially repeal and partially amend Obamacare, while leaving its core regulatory architecture in place. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“As part of their Better Way agenda, Republicans said ‘Obamacare must be fully repealed so we can start over and take a new approach.’ The American Health Care Act fails that simple test in dramatic fashion. As a result, the core regulatory architecture of Obamacare will remain in place and premiums will remain too high.

“Throughout this process, conservatives acted in good faith to deliver on longstanding campaign promises. Unfortunately, it is now apparent that congressional leadership and some in the White House hid behind faux procedural concerns to avoid the substantive divides in the Republican conference over maintaining Obamacare’s regulatory architecture.

“Late today, members of Congress will be forced to vote on one of the most consequential pieces of legislation they will ever vote on. It is an awful bill that will impact millions of Americans’ lives and is opposed by nearly every serious conservative health care analyst. This legislation is a policy, process and political disaster. Voting no is the only defendable position.”

Heritage Action opposes H.R. 1628 and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.      

Heritage Action Praises Brat, Palmer and Sanford

Washington — This morning, Reps. David Brat, Gary Palmer and Mark Sanford voted against the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in the House Budget Committee because the bill would leave Obamacare’s core regulatory architecture in place.  Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“Congressmen Brat, Palmer and Sanford deserve tremendous credit for standing firm in their conviction that repeal must be repeal. Republicans promised their constituents that they would repeal Obamacare and do everything they can to drive down the cost of health insurance for Americans struggling under Obamacare. The AHCA falls far short of that promise.”      

As Heritage Action’s Needham and Jacob Reses wrote Wednesday for National Review, “Conservatives are anxious to repeal Obamacare, but repeal must be repeal.” Needham and Reses continued:

“Rather than build from that floor to full repeal, the architects of the House bill have instead aimed to renovate America’s Obamacare-era insurance markets from the ceiling down by combining repeal and replace. The danger of this approach, conservatives feared, was always that it would be built on a shaky floor. And in the case of the AHCA, it is.

“Obamacare’s beating heart was its regulatory structure: the benefit mandates, the one-size-fits-all community-rating rules, the limits on pricing structure and rules about where cost burdens must fall, and the federal review of decisions about insurance markets that can be handled perfectly well in the states.”

Trump’s Big League Conservative Budget Request

Washington — This morning, President Donald Trump’s administration unveiled the outlines of an America First Budget. The administration’s budget request calls for roughly a 10 percent overall reduction in non-defense discretionary spending for the upcoming FY 2018 budget year, which would pay for a $54 billion increase in defense spending.  Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“Budgets are all about vision and prioritization, and there is a lot for conservatives to like in President Trump’s budget request. It envisions a smaller, more efficient federal government that will begin focusing on core functions while ensuring Americans remain safe and secure. Unfortunately, key Republican lawmakers preemptively dismissed the president’s budget request last month. President Trump must not allow parochial concerns and Washington norms to stymie his effort to drain the swamp and put America first and make America great again.”

GOP Plan Fails to Move Past Obamacare’s Progressive Promise

Washington — Monday evening, House Republican leaders released text of their long-anticipated American Health Care Act (AHCA). Despite widespread conservative criticism and the lack of score from the Congressional Budget Office, the proposal (committee summaries here and here) is being called the “health bill you’ve waited for” by Republican leaders and key committee chairmen. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“In many ways, the House Republican proposal released last night not only accepts the flawed progressive premises of Obamacare but expands upon them. Ronald Reagan once said, ‘Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.’ The AHCA does all three.

“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.  That is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy.

“Rather than accept the flawed premises of Obamacare, congressional Republicans should fully repeal the failed law and begin a genuine effort to deliver on longstanding campaign promises that create a free market health care system that empowers patients and doctors.”