GOP Leaders Release Details of Plan to Replace Obamacare

GOP Leaders Release Details of Plan to Replace Obamacare


House Republican leaders mapped out their proposal for how Obamacare will be repealed and replaced in a closed-door meeting Thursday, outlining plans for Medicaid reforms and refundable tax credits for Americans.

Joined briefly by newly confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden presented the details to members.

The plan comes amid mounting frustration from the chamber’s conservative wing, who want to see their leaders move faster on repealing Obamacare and decided to coalesce around their own replacement plan Wednesday after discussions over potential changes to the health care system slowed.


GOP lawmakers said repeatedly they would unwind Obamacare—a promise repeated by President Donald Trump on the campaign trail—but the conference has yet to come together on which parts of the law would be repealed and how.

And members are likely to face questions on Obamacare’s future from constituents on both sides of the aisle when they head home for the Presidents Day recess.

Ryan told reporters on Thursday that upon returning to Washington at the end of the month, lawmakers would introduce the repeal and replace legislation.

However, he noted that GOP lawmakers are waiting on cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation

“What we’re proposing is a patient-centered system where the patient designs their plan. The patient gets to decide what they want to do,” Ryan said. “The nucleus is the patient and her doctor versus the nucleus of the system being the government in Obamacare’s sake.”

According to a copy of the presentation leaders gave to Republicans that was obtained by The Daily Signal, the plan calls for Congress to pass legislation that repeals Obamacare’s taxes, individual and employer mandates, and subsidies. It also stresses that the Medicaid expansion, which loosened program eligibility requirements, would also be changed.

Then, it maps out four key components of a replacement: modernize Medicaid, use State Innovation Grants, expand health savings accounts, and provide portable, monthly tax credits.

Specifically, Americans purchasing coverage on the individual market would receive an advanceable, refundable tax credit based on age.

The plan also expands the use of health savings accounts, a policy that is the hallmark of nearly every proposal Republicans have presented over the last six years.

Brady and Walden’s replacement plan calls for an increase in the maximum contribution Americans can make to their health savings accounts. Currently, individuals can contribute $3,400 each year to a health savings account, but the Republicans’ plan would raise that limit to $6,500.

Republicans are generally in agreement on the expansion of health savings accounts and even on providing Americans some form of financial assistance, but GOP members are more divided on how to handle changes to Medicaid.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid, and had 100 percent of Medicaid costs for those who are newly eligible covered by the federal government from 2014 to 2016. Now, GOP senators representing some of those states have pushed for the expansion to remain in place.

Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1DcGAbxr08

The plan put forth by House Republican leaders would pare down the match rates for the expanded Medicaid population over time, but allow states to continue enrolling new beneficiaries under the expansion’s eligibility. Republicans then propose changing it to either a per-capita allotment or block grant program.

The proposal provides a transition period, though not defined, for states that did expand Medicaid.

To ease the concerns of leaders from expansion states, Ryan said Walden and Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, have been working with Republican governors to discuss potential changes to the program.

The last item in the GOP’s replacement plan calls for the creation of high-risk pools, which would be funded by federal dollars allocated to the states and can be used to help those with pre-existing conditions.

Republicans plan to repeal Obamacare using a budget tool called reconciliation, which fast-tracks legislation in the Senate and allows it to pass with 51 votes.

Their plan is to start with a repeal bill that passed both chambers in 2015, but was ultimately vetoed by President Barack Obama.

GOP leaders are planning to build on the 2015 bill by including parts of Obamacare’s replacement.

Late last month, Ryan mapped out a timeline for Obamacare’s repeal, telling GOP colleagues the House would dismantle the bill in March or April.

But House conservatives are becoming frustrated with the speed leaders are moving and want to see action before then.

On Monday, the approximately 40 members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus voted unanimously to back the 2015 Obamacare repeal bill, and on Wednesday, they endorsed an Obamacare replacement plan released by Sen. Rand Paul. (For more from the author of “GOP Leaders Release Details of Plan to Replace Obamacare” please click HERE) http://joemiller.us/2017/02/gop-leaders-release-details-plan-replac...

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LIGHTER SIDE

The cartoonist's homepage, indystar.com/opinion/varvel

ALERT ALERT

Clinton Donor And Tax Cheat Tied To Russia

“Do as we say, not as we do.”

That seems to be the slogan for Hillary Clinton and her political allies, and it’s especially apt in light of new information about one of Clinton’s largest campaign donors.

While the left is still trying to attack President Trump and his family over unproven business dealings and largely debunked connections to Russia, a new report indicates that it was Hillary Clinton’s team who were doing those exact things.

“Fox News has learned that one of the top donors to the ‘Hillary Victory Fund’ (HVF) in 2016 was a Los Angeles-based attorney who is alleged to have misused company funds to create his own $22 million real estate portfolio,” that outlet reported on Thursday.

“He has also been considered by California to be one of the state’s biggest tax cheats, and allegedly has ties to the (Russian) Kremlin,” Fox continued.

The man’s name is Edgar Sargsyan. His deep pockets greatly benefited Clinton’s campaign, with contributions of at least $250,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund in 2016.

He was also in charge of an elite fundraising dinner to benefit Clinton, where donors paid $100,000 per couple just to attend the ritzy event. But in true Clinton fashion, the money apparently went missing.

Sargsyan is now “being sued by his former company for allegedly diverting those funds to start his own real estate company,” according to Fox.

Now, people are asking hard questions about Clinton’s buddy Sargsyan, including whether his contributions were part of a pay-to-play scheme and if he had shady connections to foreign governments.

“Nobody gave to the Hillary Victory Fund out of the goodness of their heart or some generalized desire to help 33 random state parties,” pointed out attorney Dan Backer from the Committee to Defend the President.

“They did so to buy access and curry influence — something the Clintons have been selling for nearly three decades in and out of government,” he continued.

Trying to buy political influence is sadly common, especially when it comes to the Clintons. What is raising more red flags than normal, however, is the evidence that Sargsyan is no run-of-the-mill campaign donor.

“The really scary question is, what did this particular donor with this strange web of connections hope to buy for his quarter-million dollars?” Backer asked Fox News.

That web of connections is strange indeed.

The Committee to Defend the President is now alleging that SBK, a major Sargsyan-linked company “is an investment firm that is affiliated with United Arab Emirates president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and its international affiliate has business interests in Russia,” according to Fox.

“Among its dealings was a bid to finance $850 million for a major bridge project to connect Crimea with Russia,” the group claims.

“He worked for SBK, and SBK appears to have bid on some Crimean/Russian bridge project,” Backer said. “That’s usually an indicator of political favor and connections.”

It raises several chilling questions: Was Sargsyan paying a quarter million dollars to Clinton for political favors, and — more disturbingly — was that money actually from sources in Russia in order to smooth the way for its construction plans?

Nobody knows for sure. What is clear, however, is that there is a pattern of dirty money surrounding the Clintons, with the “Uranium One” and “Clinton Foundation” scandals just two of the most well-known examples.

“It reinforces how fast and loose the Clinton machine was when it came to ‘Hoovering up’ these megadonor checks, not just from questionable Hollywood and Wall Street elites but potentially from foreign influence peddlers using who knows what money,” Backer told Fox News.

“It reinforces the need to take a long hard look at not just the unlawful money laundering process, but the way in which they were solicited as well,” he continued. “The Clintons have never shown a great deal of concern for whomever it was cutting the checks — whether it’s foreign influence peddlers or Hollywood smut peddlers like Harvey Weinstein.”

If those claims are even partially true, then America dodged a bullet in November of 2016 — and it’s worth keeping the pile of foreign-connected Clinton scandals in mind the next time the left tries desperately to tie Donald Trump to Russia. Perhaps they should look in the mirror.

SLAVEHOLDER??

Washington Post Compares
Jeff Sessions To Slaveholder’

The Washington Post compared Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “slaveholders” after he quoted the Bible on Thursday while discussing his department’s policy of prosecuting all illegal immigrants who cross the border.

Sessions made the statement during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

WaPo ran a story entitled “Sessions cites Bible passage used to defend slavery in defense of separating immigrant families” by general assignment editor Keith McMillan and religion reporter Julie Zauzmer on Friday.

Rather than detailing the statistics Sessions cited in the speech that explain the immigration policy, the story quoted John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

“This is the same argument that Southern slaveholders and the advocates of a Southern way of life made,” Fea said.

Sessions spent much of the speech discussing the numbers behind current immigration policy, including separating families at the Southwest border.

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said.

“Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”

“The previous administration wouldn’t prosecute aliens if they came with children,” Sessions said.

“It was de-facto open borders if you came with children. The results were unsurprising. More and more illegal aliens started showing up at the border with children.”

Sessions laid out the numbers in the speech.

“In 2013, fewer than 15,000 family units were apprehended crossing our border illegally between ports of entry in dangerous areas of the country,” he said.

“Five years later, it was more than 75,000, a five-fold increase in five years. It didn’t even have to be their child that was brought, it could be anyone. You can imagine that this created a lot of danger.”

The U.S. has the “opportunity” to fix its broken immigration system now, Sessions said.

“I believe that’s it’s moral, right, just and decent that we have a lawful system of immigration,” he said. “The American people have been asking for it.”

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