(Bloomberg) — An analysis written for an influential bloc of U.S. House conservatives derides a key component of a new Republican plan to change the Affordable Care Act, faulting a provision offering tax credits to individuals who wouldn’t otherwise have access to health insurance.
Prepared for the Republican Study Committee, a group of about 170 House conservatives, the staff report called the refundable tax credits “a Republican welfare entitlement.”
“Writing checks to individuals to purchase insurance is, in principle, Obamacare,” says the memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg News.
Republicans Monday unveiled their long-awaited legislation to gut the ACA, proposing to phase out key parts of the health care law over several years as they try to break through a stalemate between moderates and conservatives in their party.
But conservative Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky also blasted GOP leaders’ new draft on Tuesday morning. He wrote on Twitter that it is “Obamacare Lite. It will not pass.” Conservatives, he added “are not going to take it.”
The Republican Study Committee’s staff analysis of the proposal said there are “major concerns” with the legislation’s continuation of Medicaid expansion, and a lack of clarity on how language preventing the use of the tax credit money for abortions can be guaranteed.
The Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means committees are scheduled to hold initial hearings on the legislation as early as Wednesday.
Mark Walker’s committee is still reviewing the draft. (Photo: Walker’s office)
The staff analysis says the legislation contains the same tax credits as a Feb. 10 draft criticized by many conservatives. However, it also includes a phase out of the credit for individuals earning more than $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers). This would reduce the value of the credit by 10 percent of the amount by which an individual’s income exceeds the income threshold, the evaluation says.
While that allows more choices for individuals, and is more patient-centered, it “is fundamentally grounded on the idea that the federal government should fund insurance purchases,” the staff report says.