After months of planning, GOP lawmakers unveiled their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act on March 6.
The repeal bill would do away with the individual mandate of the ACA while allowing people with pre-existing conditions to remain covered by health insurance and and allowing people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents' plans, as was the case with the original ACA, reports CNN.
However, those with pre-existing conditions who have a lapse in coverage could see much higher premiums. The measure would also phase out ACA expansion of Medicaid by 2020, but would include a refundable tax credit of between $2,000 and $4,000 a year, which would increase with the buyer's age, notes The Hill. Though older and low-income individuals would receive less financial help than they did under the ACA, younger people and those with slightly higher incomes would be eligible for higher credits in general.
Democrats say that many of the 20 million people who benefited from the ACA could potentially lose their coverage; however, while Republicans agree that the plan will cover fewer people, they say that it will free many from being forced to buy coverage while keeping taxes low.
"We've been listening very carefully to our Republican members for months now to make sure we get it right," said Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, according to The Hill. "I am confident we are going to pass this."
Included in the measure is a provision to stop all federal funding to Planned Parenthood, which GOP lawmakers have pushed for years, notes CNN. Planned Parenthood advocates say that this will cause many Medicaid recipients to lose their access to routine healthcare, while federal law bans any government funding from going directly to abortion services. Republicans state that the money funds abortions, either directly or indirectly, and also goes toward research that they do not support.
While drafting the bill, some Republicans clashed over whether or not refundable tax credits are the correct approach to help people afford healthcare, particularly since the APA offers a similar form of subsidies.
"I think there is still a significant divide within the conference on how you deal with refundable tax credits," said Republican Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said while his party hammered out the bill's details. "I think the refundable tax credit in its present form represents a new entitlement."
Sanford added at the time that he would have "very, very strong reservations" about supporting a bill with such provisions.