Republicans are heading into a presidential election year with still no clear plan to replace Obamacare, even though this week lawmakers were able to meet a five-year promise on a repeal bill
that will likely face a veto from President Barack Obama.
"Conservatives and Republicans have been accused of not having a plan," Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., told conservatives as part of a panel hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, reports The Hill.
"When you have [a large] number of plans and you haven't coalesced around a plan, you don't have any plan."
And as long as Republicans don't rally around one plan, "we'll continue to be subject to the demagoguery from the other side," said Price, a doctor who hopes to push GOP efforts this year.
There have been more than 60 votes to repeal Obamacare since it became law in 2010, but still, there have been no hearings or budget analysis on replacement bills, and leaders haven't endorsed any provisions other than offering promises for patient-centered care.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and others in her party believe that the longer Obamacare remains the law, the harder it will be to take away benefits from Americans.
According to the Obama administration, 11.3 million people signed up for coverage this year alone,and millions get coverage through Medicaid expansions.
On the other side of the ticket, Donald Trump, who is maintaining his stronghold on the GOP polls, favors a single-payer system such as Canadians have, and promised that if elected "I am going to take care of everybody . . . the government's gonna pay for it," he said.
"But we're going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it's going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition, with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything."
Even a GOP plan could prove unpopular, as it could require cuts to programs such as Medicare and dealings with industry groups.
Further, there have been ideas such as reducing money being spent on tax credits, which could drive the cost of healthcare even higher. Under Price's plan, for example, the average Obamacare subsidy of $3,240 per year would be reduced to $3,000 for seniors and just $1,200 for recipients younger than 35.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, meanwhile, has worked on his own replacement plan, but is not yet sharing details or a timeline for his plan.
"The details of talking about how this alternative gets rolled out is not nearly as important as offering people a real, clear compelling choice in 2016," he told reporters.
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