On Wednesday morning, two key House committees started formally drafting an Affordable Care Act repeal. The majority of the nation’s doctor groups and hospitals have spoken out against such legislation. President Donald Trump has said that he is “agnostic” about the bill and stated that it could suffer some alterations.
Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, informed on Tuesday that Trump is willing to revise the draft that the House of Ways & Means and the House of Energy & Commerce are preparing. The President sent out a tweet on Monday, after the plan was revealed, saying that the bill was “wonderful,” but changed his opinion after many groups raised their concern regarding the project.
Trump also stated that he’s willing to visit lawmaker’s districts around the country and hold meetings with them to gain support for the bill, as several Republican groups have too expressed their desire to change the bill.
Leaders of the House of Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce talked about the draft law on their opening statements in Congress. They said that the legislation would rescue Americans from health coverage that had grown far too expensive and limited.
The Democrats quickly took the stand with their remarks about the future legislation, stating that the bill will favor certain individuals only, as one of the points on the agenda is to eliminate taxes on business.
The Republican ‘scheme.’
Health and medical advocacy groups have come out publicly against the bill since the plan was released on Monday. They point out that the only people supporting the bill are those who will benefit from it, such as groups linked to industries and individuals whose taxes would be reduced, like the United States Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative organization.
Democrats spoke out against the bill and tried to shed light on its true nature, which for them is a scheme to benefit the rich and harm low-income families across the U.S.
The Democrats called Republicans irresponsible for moving ahead with consideration of the legislation before receiving estimates on how much it would cost and without knowing the collateral damage it could cause, such as people losing their health coverage.
Republicans took the stand to defend the bill and claimed that the plan was desperately needed to solve a government-run system that is collapsing.
“A failed political and social experiment that ignored the will of people across the country” were the words that Michael Burgess, a Republican representative from Texas, used to describe the Affordable Care Act.
The bill would also discontinue some tax increases stipulated in the Affordable Care Act, including a surtax on investment gains, a tax on medical devices and a tax on tanning salons.
Democrats pointed out that the bill would also provide a tax break for health insurance companies, allowing them to take tax deductions for executive compensation exceeding $500,000 a year. This is a point that the Democrats have heavily criticized, ever since the Affordable Care Act was being written in 2009.
Insurance executives at health insurance companies have earned high salaries for years, and the new bill would allow them to pay no taxes on these high wages and bonuses.
The other Republicans
The Democrats took into consideration people’s demands for the repealing bill. Most Americans are worried about the repercussions of repealing the Affordable Care Act, as many of them rely on the act for their health care needs, and most aren’t able to pay health coverage without it. But the Republican agenda stays strong, and many representatives have run to support Donald Trump’s policies.
“The country had their say. I’m glad there’s a mandate” said Republican Representative Steve Scalise during the Energy and Commerce meeting. “The American people spoke. We’re not going to deny them this opportunity to repeal this law”.
However, not all Republicans are for the bill, with some criticizing the inclusion of a refundable tax credit to help people buy insurance, saying that this measure would create a new government entitlement; some even used the word “welfare.”
Another concern for Republicans regards the bill’s continuation of the expansion of Medicaid. This topic resonates amongst some conservatives that approve the fund cuts that the White House administration wants to impose on organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which receives over $500 millions in federal funds from Medicaid.
Most Republicans are for the fund cuts because they’re against abortion procedures, although Planned Parenthood has repeatedly stated that the money used to perform abortions has never come from federal funds.
Speaker Paul Ryan has set March 22 as the date for the House passage of the Affordable Care Act repeal, and the Republican members are working closely with President Trump and the White House Administration to get it done by that date.
Source: The New York Times