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House Republicans have unveiled their long-awaited plan to repeal Obamacare, cutting back the expansion of Medicaid that occurred under Barack Obama’s signature healthcare programme.
The draft legislation would roll back many of the core tenets of Mr Obama’s healthcare legacy, scrapping the fine for individuals who did not choose to enroll in a healthcare programme, and scrapping the programme’s premium subsidies in favour of a new tax credit system. Unlike the subsidies programme, those tax credits would be determined by the individual consumer’s age instead of their income, write Courtney Weaver and Barnaby Jopson.
Democrats have already launched a vocal attack against the plan, which they say is likely to leave more Americans uninsured, particularly low-income individuals who had benefited from the expansion of Medicaid.
The plan also has critics in the Republican ranks as well. On Monday, four Republican senators – Rob Portman of Ohio; Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia; Cory Gardner of West Virginia; and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – sent a letter to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, urging him to reject any repeal bill that cut back Medicaid, which the House bill would do.
“We believe Medicaid needs to be reformed, but reform should not come at the cost of disruption in access to health care for our country’s most vulnerable and sickest individuals,” they wrote in their letter to Mr McConnell.
“Any changes made to how Medicaid is financed through the state and federal governments should be coupled with significant new flexibility so they can efficiently and effectively manage their Medicaid programs to best meet their own needs.”
Under the House repeal bill, Mr Obama’s Medicaid expansion programme would continue only until 2020.