(Bloomberg Politics) — The Republican health care wars have begun.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s roll-out of a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) replacement plan Tuesday prompted a scathing attack by rival presidential candidate and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who labeled it “Obamacare lite.”
“In a health care plan that is light on specifics, Governor Walker endorsed the fundamental underpinning of Obamacare—the notion that America needs another entitlement program,” Jindal said in a statement.
Inside the world of Republican politics, few insults are more aggressive than accusing a fellow tribesman of supporting anything similar to PPACA, which despite its origins in conservative policy circles is now widely seen on the right as the pinnacle of what’s wrong with Washington.
On Tuesday, Walker said in a speech in Minnesota he’d send legislation to Congress on his first day as president “that will once and for all repeal PPACA entirely and replace it in a way that puts patients and their families back in charge of their health care decisions.”
“This gives them a way to get an affordable health care plan,” he said, referring to the age-based refundable tax credits at the heart of his plan, for people who aren’t eligible for employer-provided insurance or Medicare. They range from $900 per year for a person under 17 to $3,000 for a person above 50.
Unlike Walker’s plan, PPACA provides insurance tax credits to people based primarily on income—between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level—with the aim of helping lower-income people afford coverage. Republicans have widely panned the 2010 law’s tax-credit scheme as an entitlement, and Jindal extends the same logic to Walker’s plan.
“In Governor Walker’s plan, a new entitlement is created for every single American human being from the time they are born right up until they grow old and become eligible for Medicare,” Jindal said. “It is frankly shocking that a Republican candidate for president would author a cradle to grave plan like this.”