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GOP Bill to Kill Obamacare Isn't the End: Here's the 3-Stage Plan

03-13-2017
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House Speaker Paul Ryan
House Speaker Paul Ryan

WASHINGTON -- The roll-out of the new health care bill had some rocky moments in its first week, but the House Republican leadership is putting on the full court press to get members on board with their repeal and replace plan.
 
"This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare. The time is here, the time is now, this is the moment, and this is the closest this will ever happen," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said.
 
The Republican leadership hopes to replace Obamacare in three stages, with phase one being passing the bill through a process called budget reconciliation.

The bill is written in a way to prevent Democrats from filibustering it in the Senate, so it can be passed with a simple majority.
 
"This is like trying to get things out of your house while it's on fire. You'd like to get it all out at once, but you can't take it all at once, and you've got to take it out in different waves," explained Congressman Peter Roskam, R-Ill.
 
The second phase involves Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price using authority granted to him under Obamacare to make more changes to improve the health care system.
 
"He's got unbelievable authority under the ACA to do all kinds of things," said Roskam. "There's 1,400 places in the ACA where it says 'the secretary may,' or 'the secretary shall,' never thinking that somebody like Tom Price was going to be the secretary of Health and Human Services, and I would argue that's a very good thing."
 
In phase three, Congress will pass bills through the normal legislative process – with provisions that can't be done by reconciliation, like allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines.

"This is the repeal and replacement product that the president wants, that he's given us the indication he's willing to roll up his sleeves and work with us to get to the finish line," said Congressman Tom Reed, R-NY.

Some pro-life groups are voicing concern that under the new health care bill refundable tax credits provided by the plan could be used to fund abortions, but Reed says that's just misinformation.
 
"I'm a pro-life member, proud of our pro-life record, and it is clear that that's not going to be the case as we go forward and so just getting more information, that's part of the process, too," Reed said.
 
Supporters of the bill won their first victories as it passed two committees last week, but there are still divisions in the Republican ranks over some of the key elements of the plan - and some conservatives say it needs less government involvement for health care and more for the free market.
 
"Within the bill itself we are not creating an environment where the market can flourish yet," cautioned Congressman Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.

Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, like Gohmert and Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told CBN News why they're strongly opposed to the bill as it stands.
 
"We didn't tell the voters we were going to repeal Obamacare, but we are going to keep some of the Obamacare taxes -- I know I didn't tell them that," said Jordan. "We didn't tell the voters we were going to take the Medicaid expansion and extend it and keep it for more years. And we certainly didn't say we were going to repeal Obamacare but we're going to start a new entitlement."
 
Jordan introduced a bill calling for a clean repeal of Obamacare, and then wants to debate how to replace it.

He says that as of now, he will not vote for the House leadership bill.
 
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is using his "art of the deal" tactics to woo rogue Republicans into supporting the plan he refers to as "wonderful" and inviting the Freedom Caucus to the White House for a bowling party.

But it could be a hard sell.
 
"If we're setting this up so it's not completely getting rid of Obamacare; it leaves massive parts of it, then we got problems," warned Gohmert.
 
For now, House leadership and the White House are focused on friendly negotiations with skeptical conservative members, before they start forcing them to get in line.

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