Republican lawmakers expect that their Obamacare replacement will result in fewer Americans covered by health insurance, a fact that’s likely to increase blowback amid growing support for the program.

New details of the plan are beginning to emerge, described by lawmakers and their aides. While still being worked out, it would do away with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all Americans have health coverage or pay a fine, and replace it with rules that let people choose not to buy insurance, instead paying higher premiums or penalties if they need it later. The result would be fewer people covered, said Republican lawmakers.

“Not everybody is going to have health care -- some people just don’t care enough about their own care,” Representative Dennis Ross of Florida, a senior member of House Republicans’ vote-counting team, said in an interview Wednesday. He said Republicans can provide people access to affordable insurance plans, “but whether they take it or not is like trying to legislate responsibility.”

The plan was described by Republicans in interviews and by aides to lawmakers who spoke of condition of anonymity because it’s not yet public. Parts of it are also contained in an outline distributed last week, some based on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” program.

Republican Details

While the Republican plan would provide tax credits to help people buy insurance, similar to Obamacare, those subsidies would be based on age rather than income. That means poorer people wouldn’t get additional money to help them afford insurance, potentially putting coverage out of financial reach. Republicans have also threatened to roll back an expansion of Medicaid. About 10 million people are covered in Obamacare’s individual insurance markets, and about 12 million have coverage through the Medicaid expansion.

Fewer people covered under a GOP plan also contradicts what President Donald Trump has promised.

"We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said in a Jan. 14 interview with the Washington Post. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it,” Trump told the newspaper. “That’s not going to happen with us.”

The GOP repeal plans have galvanized supporters of the law. At town halls held this week around the country by Republican lawmakers, they’ve been questioned and heckled by citizens demanding they back down from their repeal plans. Two new polls also show support of the law growing: a Pew Research Center survey conducted from Feb. 7-12 found that 54 percent of Americans surveyed approve of the law, the highest mark recorded by the survey. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Friday found that 48 percent of people support the ACA, and 43 percent disapprove -- the widest margin of support since 2010.

Less Insurance, More Liberty

First « 1 2 3 » Next