Latest GOP Draft Replacement for ACA Alters Age-Based Tax Credits

A newer version of House Republicans’ draft bill to replace the Affordable Care Act has been leaked, and it contains a few significant changes to the draft that leaked last week, including a cut-off so wealthy Americans would not be eligible for age-based tax credits.

A newer version of House Republicans’ draft bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been leaked, and it contains a few significant changes to the draft that leaked last week, according to POLITICO, which obtained the bill.

The draft that was released last Friday had been dated February 10. The new bill to leak is dated February 24.

While the newest draft retains tax credits based on age, it would not allow wealthier Americans to qualify for assistance. At this time, there is no eligibility cut-off yet. This information comes just days after the Kaiser Family Foundation released an analysis on how the wealthy would have been the biggest winners under the February 10 draft bill. Under that draft, a 40-year-old would receive $3000 in tax credits regardless of if they earned $20,000 a year or $100,000 a year.

The latest draft also still includes a plan to phase out Medicaid expansion, something Republican governors are starting to push back on. Ohio Governor John Kasich is leading efforts to keep federal funds for Medicaid expansion. The Republican governors of Wisconsin and Tennessee are also against phasing out expansion.

Creating a replacement for the ACA has proven difficult for Republicans as party in-fighting about what a replacement should look like has delayed any action. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) seems more confident that he can get the required number of House Republicans to vote for the legislation that is ultimately introduced, according to a press conference he held with reporters on Thursday.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is less certain.

“We know this transition isn’t going to be easy,” McConnell said on the floor of the Senate on Thursday in an attempt to convince his fellow senators that the law needs to be repealed and replaced. “Providing relief from the disaster of Obamacare is going to be a challenge. However, the status quo is not sustainable. The American people need help now.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is part of a group of conservatives, including Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), that will not be happy with anything less than a full repeal of the ACA. And apparently, he hasn’t been able to find the leaked copy of the House’s latest draft to replace the law. On Friday he was tweeting about his attempt to find a copy to no avail.

Oh look. @politico has more details on the House Obamacare Lite plan. Hey @pauldemko can I get a copy?

— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 3, 2017

He had learned about the draft legislation on Thursday and that it was being “hidden away” and released a statement on his intent to repeal the ACA.

“It is already bad enough that it appears House leadership wants us to settle for ‘Obamacare Lite,’ but now we can’t even expect full transparency during the process,” he said in a statement. “I will not settle. and I will not stand idly by while the American people are kept in the dark. I will continue to speak out for full repeal.”

Paul released his own ACA replacement proposal in January that would immediately repeal mandates of the law, as well as aspects such as community rating restrictions rate review, and medical loss ratio. His plan relies heavily on health savings accounts, a GOP favorite, and selling insurance across state lines, one of the president’s favored strategies.