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FEB17

A Government Divided

The 115th Congress seems to have reached a new rung on the descent into dysfunction. Even though Republicans have achieved their goal of controlling two of the three branches of government, Congress and the executive, there is little consensus on how to move their agenda forward. Despite six plus years of Republicans marching to a steady drumbeat calling for the repeal of Obamacare, now that they control the government there is no consensus on how to dismantle and replace the measure. 

Demonstrating just how divided the congressional Republicans have become, this week the deeply conservative House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) announced that the group wants to immediately repeal Obamacare with a bill similar to the 2015 reconciliation bill vetoed by President Obama. Then, they want to replace Obamacare with a bill authored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Paul’s bill, also introduced in the House by Rep Sanford (R-SC), would expand health savings accounts and allow individuals and small businesses to create their own markets. More moderate Republicans prefer that a full replacement plan be in place before dismantling the ACA, which has expanded coverage to millions. 

There are four significant ACA repeal bills under consideration, with GOP leadership having briefed its members on the merits of those bills on Thursday. 

  1. )Sen. Rand Paul, The Obamacare Replacement Act (S. 222)
  2. )Rep. Tom Price (former), Empowering Patients First Act, 2015
  3. )Speaker Paul Ryan, A Better Way: Our Vision for a More Confident America, 2016
  4. )Sens. Susan Collins & Bill Cassidy, Patient Freedom Act, 2017

If you’d like to learn the differences between plans under consideration, see the Kaiser Family Foundation comparison tool. 

To demonstrate cohesion and determination, House Republicans on Thursday released another repeal and replace plan. The plan includes a few new elements but essentially, it’s a rehash of previous Republican proposals. The plan calls for a radical restructuring of Medicaid, giving states the option to choose a block grant or a per capita cap. Either option would eviscerate health care for low-income people, including those living with HIV, which is why AIDS United urging people to tell Congress to reject any changes to the Medicaid program structure that take health care away from those who need it most.

Despite the gloss of the new House “plan,” congressional Republicans still do not have a plan with elements that fit together to form a viable replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

What is clear is that the American people and particularly those living with or impacted by HIV must not lose access to the quality health coverage afforded by the ACA. For people living with HIV, health care access is life or death and expanded coverage afforded by the ACA has given many thousands of people living with HIV and millions more an assurance that they could maintain their health and wellness. AIDS United will continue to oppose repealing the ACA without an effective replacement that maintains and builds upon the coverage, benefits, and protections under the current law.





Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department - Friday, February 17, 2017

Search Tags: Affordable Care Act



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