As promised, Republicans are going to get rid of Obamacare. Or are they?
They introduced a plan Tuesday that is coming under fire on the left for not doing enough and under fire on the right for doing too much. Add it all up and the new legislation has the potential to be a really big, politically embarrassing and even politically dangerous mess for Republicans and President Trump. Here's your cheat sheet to it all:
What Republicans' Obamacare replacement plan changes
1) You wouldn't have to have health insurance: Under this plan, there's no tax penalty every year you go without it. BUT if you try to buy insurance at the last minute, you'll pay a fee.
“It's a little bit like you don't get to buy fire insurance for your house when the roof is on fire,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), one of the architects of the bill.
(Darla Cameron and Leslie Shapiro / The Washington Post )
2) Medicaid is limited: One of the underpinnings of Obamacare was to encourage states to expand health care for lower-income residents mostly on the federal government's dime. This plan still allows states to expand Medicaid with federal help, but much less help.
Nonpartisan health care experts say that could leave states on the hook if the cost of health care suddenly spikes — say there's an epidemic or a new life-saving drug — which is one reason some GOP governors and senators are skeptical of the plan.
(Darla Cameron and Leslie Shapiro / The Washington Post)
3) It would also defund Planned Parenthood. The nonpartisan health care clinic, which also performs abortions, has been in conservatives' crosshairs for more than a year now.
What the plan doesn't change
Also, people will get help to pay for insurance: Under Obamacare, it was tax credits. Under this plan, it's also basically tax credits, but low-income people are likely to get much less help while the wealthiest one percent as well as companies like tanning salons and medical device makers will see big tax breaks.
Who supports it
Vice President Pence, President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (EPA/JIM LO SCALZO)
Who opposes it
Quite a few factions.
1) Democrats. (They generally like Obama, so they have little interest in substantially changing Obamacare. Also that Planned Parenthood defund thing is a non-starter.)
2) The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association: They're concerned the cuts to Medicaid funding will hurt “our most vulnerable populations.”
3) Midwest/Western GOP senators: They also are concerned the bill doesn't do enough to help states pay for Medicaid, putting their constituents on the hook.
4) Conservatives: They think the bill goes too far in helping people get health insurance and looks too similar to Obamacare. Leader of this movement: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a.k.a. the politician who went on a quixotic search for the bill last week and dragged along a portable copy machine. It was weird, but he got his point across.