March 8, 2017
GOP's Obamacare Repeal And Replacement Plan To Cost Over Half A Trillion Dollars

Earlier this week, Republicans finally introduced their new healthcare plan that will replace Obamacare. However, not all Republicans like the bill, and it could end up costing more than anyone realized. The "American Health Care Act" was introduced to Americans by Paul Ryan among a few other Republicans, which many conservatives were happy to see. However, there are other Republicans like Rand Paul who found a lot of issues with it.

The case Paul made was for a complete repeal and replacement for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The issue is that the GOP introduced a bill that was quite similar to Obamacare with only a few changes in it. The main thing that was taken out revolved around the tax on Americans who did not have healthcare. Many Democrats didn't even like this part, but insurance companies loved the plan as it allowed them to hike up prices.

There were other changes that made it, to where prices set for insurance were based on age rather than income and tax subsidies. Many people disagree with this area of the bill due to the fact that it puts more pressure on older people, many of whom are near or in retirement, to pay more out than someone in their 20s. All of this being said, Rand Paul and his bill supporters are against their fellow Republicans' bill.

Trump Executive Order
[Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]

This may also be due to the fact that the GOP have not been exactly forthcoming with how much their new Obamacare replacement plan will cost. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the GOP's plan will cost nearly $600 billion dollars. So, over half a trillion dollars will be put into this, which may very well affect taxes, among other things. House Speaker Paul Ryan did say the following.

"This bill, the American Health Care Act, it keeps our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare."
He is half-right, as mentioned earlier. There is a replacement plan, but it is by no means a full replacement. This was actually called a little while back by former House Speaker John Boehner. He told Politico the following.
"I shouldn't call it repeal-and-replace, because it's not going to happen. Most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act… that's going to be there."
The new bill's cost will be a massive amount of money, but most believe this was going to be a problem no matter what new bill was introduced. Moving from Obamacare to a new plan, regardless of what it is going to be, will be expensive. Most of the near $600 billion comes from delayed taxes from the Affordable Care Act. This is why any new plan was going to be costly at the beginning.

ACA website
[Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]

According to the Joint Committee mentioned earlier, repealing the 3.8 percent net investment income tax would be most costly, being just under $158 billion over the next ten years. This tax applies to high-income individuals as well as estates and trusts. Of course, the bill would also delay the implementation of something called the "Cadillac Tax" from 2020 to 2025.

For those unaware, the Cadillac Tax is a 40 percent excise tax on employer plans that exceed $10,200 in premiums per year for individuals, and $27,500 for families. Of course, the movement from 2020 to 2025 with this tax is seen as good and bad by people. Some agree with the move and others do not, which may be because some feel the move would delay needed taxes.

The GOP's Obamacare bill would also allow for an increase in the max contribution limit for Health Savings Accounts. This is seen as the most costly aspect of the entire bill, which is not a repeal or delay of taxes. The provision's estimated cost would be just shy of $19 billion. Of course, President Donald Trump is all for the new replacement plan for Obamacare, as he repealed in through an executive order earlier this year. He would say the following on Tuesday.

"It follows the guidelines I laid out in my congressional address — a plan that will lower costs, expand choices, increase competition and ensure health care access for all Americans."
Paul Ryan
[Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]

As mentioned earlier, not all Republicans like the GOP's plan to replace Obamacare, with members of the House Freedom Caucus and some of other people from the Senate that claim the GOP's legislation does not go far enough. Utah Senator Mike Lee said the following on Tuesday.

"This is, instead, a step in the wrong direction. And as much as anything, it's a missed opportunity."
Ohio Representative Jim Jordan would weigh in as well, claiming the following.
"Our plan has always been repeal in one piece of legislation, replace in the other."
Then you have some that have a bit of a different take on this and are actually hopeful of what could happen with the new bill, such as the case of Representative Louie Gomert, who said as follows.
"But we've got a starting point, and I think amidst the horse excrement, we can find a pony around here somewhere."
Gomert is right if you're a conservative. Republicans want something to replace Obamacare, and at least there is something coming out of the GOP now rather than nothing at all. He said that there is a starting point, this despite his comments of also seeming to not be a fan of the bill. There is most certainly a starting point to replace Obamacare. However, there might be some amendments to bill along the way that most Republicans can agree on once this replacement plan for Obamacare finally gets put through.

[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]