Three GOP Factions to Release Obamacare Replacement Plans

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By Alex Ruoff

A group of Republican governors, including Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, will release a plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act in coming weeks, around the same time House Republicans and the White House are slated to unveil similar plans.

The governors will seek greater control over their Medicaid programs from Congress in exchange for changes in how the federal government funds public insurance for the poor, Sandoval told reporters Feb. 27. The plan will be released in March, he said.

President Donald Trump told governors he met with Feb. 27 that he and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price plan to unveil their ACA replacement plan in two weeks, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) told reporters Feb. 27. Sandoval confirmed McAuliffe’s statement.

Trump himself promised insurers that he would be doing “something special” to replace Obamacare, as the administration gets more involved in Republican efforts to repeal the health-care law.

“We’re going to be talking about it tomorrow night during the speech,” Trump said, referring to a joint address to Congress scheduled for Feb. 28. “I think you’ll like what you hear.”

Whether House leadership will wait for governors and Trump to release their plans before introducing legislation to repeal the ACA is unclear. Trump previously has promised to release an ACA replacement plan.

Several groups within the Republican Party have offered ACA replacement plans, but leadership appears prepared to move forward with its own.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) vowed to pass a repeal of the health-care law by the end of March, and conservatives told reporters Feb. 27 they remain committed to that timeline. The legislation, once released, is likely to move quickly through the House but could face a more difficult road through the Senate.

A draft text of the House’s bill to repeal the ACA that leaked Feb. 24 saw significant backlash from senators from states that expanded their Medicaid programs in recent years as well as from Democratic governors.

An analysis of House Republicans’ previous efforts to overturn the ACA presented to governors over the weekend showed the number of people covered by Obamacare through the individual insurance market could be slashed by as much as 51 percent in states that chose not to expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare and by 30 percent in those that did expand the program. The presentation was made by consulting firms Avalere Health and McKinsey & Co.

Plan in Flux

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Senate majority whip, told reporters Feb. 27 that the GOP’s ACA replacement plans have changed.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 27 that the House’s ACA repeal plans haven’t been completed and were likely changed by meeting with governors over the weekend.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ruoff in Washington at aruoff@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kendra Casey Plank at kcasey@bna.com

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