Republican lawmakers float ACA replacement bill

Republicans are “re-introducing” a bill they hope will serve as a framework for a health law replacement. (Getty/Wallentine)

Hours after the GOP engaged Democrats in a war of words over the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Study Committee offered up a bill it hopes will serve as a framework for a health law replacement.

The bill in question—the American Health Care Reform Act—was first introduced in 2013 by GOP Rep. Phil Roe, M.D., of Tennessee. At a news conference Wednesday, Roe touted his plan as a way to put patients and doctors back in charge of healthcare decisions instead of bureaucrats and health insurance companies. While his bill has not been endorsed by Republican leadership, according to CNN, it is the first concrete ACA replacement suggestion to emerge since the 115th Congress convened.

The bill, Roe said, would:

  • Pave the way for individuals to buy health insurance across state lines
  • “Massively” expand the use of health savings accounts
  • Reform medical liability statutes
  • Further price transparency in healthcare
  • Create fully funded high-risk pools
  • Amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act to prevent health insurance companies from being exempt from antitrust laws

Roe’s legislation, according to Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., “can serve as important framework for our committees and our members” as they tackle the task of creating an ACA replacement.

Earlier in the day, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan outlined the GOP’s overarching plan for repealing and replacing the ACA, while Democrats met with President Barack Obama to discuss a strategy to fight for the law. In comments to the press afterward, Democratic lawmakers slammed the GOP for planning to repeal the law without a replacement.

But Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, said that despite the Democrats’ rhetoric, his party plans to ensure a smooth, stable transition in which “no one loses coverage, doctors get paid [and] insurance companies continue to issue policies, albeit on a more competitive basis.”

Added fellow Texas congressman Brian Babin: “Americans cannot bear another year of rising premium costs, loss of coverage and lower quality care. The time to repeal this is now.”