Two GOP senators looking to win over bipartisan support for an Obamacare replacement plan have offered Democratic states the opportunity to keep the existing federal healthcare system if they wish.
Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine introduced the Patient Freedom Act on Jan. 23, which would also keep the Affordable Care Act taxes intact in order to create revenue for the replacement plan, reports The Hill.
"California, New York: You love ObamaCare, you can keep it," Cassidy said at a Jan. 23 press conference, according to The Hill.
The states that decide to keep the current health care package would be able to do so, while the others would implement uniform tax credits connected to a health savings account and more basic health insurance options, meaning that both liberal and conservative states would get what they want in their region.
"At some point in this process, we're going to need a bill that can get 60 votes," Cassidy explained. "We think that helps us get to 60."
Both Collins and Cassidy have called for a quick replacement to Obamacare upon its repeal, but the measure has received a mixed response from Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, with Democrats calling to maintain and ameliorate the ACA on a national level.
"While I have a great deal of respect for Senators Collins and Cassidy, their proposal today illustrates the dilemma both they and Republicans are in," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement. "Ultimately, this proposal is an empty facade that would create chaos -- not care -- for millions of Americans. Republicans should drop their disruptive repeal plans and work with Democrats to improve, not gut, the Affordable Care Act and healthcare system for all Americans."
Meanwhile, Republicans have called for a complete repeal of Obamacare in addition to its taxes, even if that means not replacing it.
"We need to show that there's a better way forward," House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said on Jan. 12. "We need to show that even though this law is collapsing, we can bridge ourselves to a much, much better system. The pillars that we stand upon with replacing Obamacare — more choices, more options, lower prices and more control over your own health care. Those are the things that we all believe in."