After seven long years of dreaming about repealing the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are finally in power and can slay their hated Obamacare dragon. But when GOP lawmakers unveiled the American Health Care Act of 2017, critics immediately ripped it as confusing, unfair, too expensive — and that’s just what many Republicans have said about the bill. Democrats, of course, are opposed to any effort to “repeal and replace” or otherwise make major revisions to President Barack Obama’s signature achievement. Here’s what some conservative critics have said about the bill many have derisively called “Obamacare Lite.”
10. “Expanding subsidies for high earners, and cutting health coverage off from the working poor: it sounds like a left-wing caricature of mustache-twirling, top-hatted Republican fat cats. But not today.”
— Forbes columnist Avik Roy, who wrote two books about the Affordable Care Act. He goes on to note that, “The AHCA creates a steep benefit cliff between those on Medicaid (subsidizing approximately $6,000 per patient per year), and those just above the poverty line who will get tax credits of about $3,000. People just below poverty will be strongly disincentivized to make more money, effectively trapping them in poverty.”
9. “Can anybody find the part of the Obamacare repeal where we can buy insurance across state lines? That’s the Holy Grail of health reform.”
— Ann Coulter, sharing the lament of many conservatives that the issue of insurance being available across state lines is not in the legislation. President Donald Trump even addressed the matter, tweeting, “Don’t worry, getting rid of state lines, which will promote competition, will be in phase 2 & 3 of healthcare rollout.”
8. “Obamacare Jr. continues to conflate health insurance — which should hedge people against unexpected expenses — with routine health care, like check-ups and birth control, that people ought to pay for out of pocket. What you are proposing is not even insurance — you are proposing redistribution of our earnings, and we want it stopped.”
— Columnist Kurt Schlichter got much more colorful in his commentary, saying, “Obamacare must die. Kill it dead — with fire! … Call it over to the mob boss’s house under the pretense that it’s going to be made, then shoot it through the face so its mother can’t give it an open coffin at the funeral.”
7. “What’s also missing from the GOP’s reform plan is any estimate of its cost to taxpayers, to the uninsured and to the health care industry. That’s because the Republicans are moving ahead on the legislation at warp speed without running its provisions through a full-scale accounting by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.”
— Donald Lambro, columnist and chief political correspondent for The Washington Times. Beware a bill that is rushed through Congress without any cost analysis.
6. “Remember this is government-controlled health care, the system that requires enrollment in an unaffordable, unsustainable, unwanted, unconstitutional continuation of government-run medicine, and even in this new quasi-reformed proposal, there is still an aspect of socialism.”
— Sarah Palin, in an interview on Breitbart News Radio
5. “If the Republican Party wants to live up to the promise it’s been making for the last few years, it should use the reconciliation process to repeal a big chunk of Obamacare. Then Trump can use all the discretion he’s given under the law to let the rest of it die on the vine. Afterwards, the GOP should tell the insurance agencies to go pound sand and then Republicans should implement a market-based program that will actually cut costs and improve care.”
— John Hawkins, Townhall.com
4. “Do not feel guilty about burning (Obamacare) to the ground, destroying this entire thing, because you have one thing to remember. It was a 2,700-page bill, no one read it. … They took your doctor, they took your healthcare, they took your money, it was a redistribution plan. … You should feel no shame burning this bill to the ground. Sorry.”
— Greg Gutfeld of Fox News, in January, addressing the need to repeal and replace all of Obamacare.
3. “Republicans are supposed to believe in free markets. Obamacare lite does not fit with Republican legislators’ promises, professed principles, or platform.”
— Jason Pye, director of public policy and legislative affairs for FreedomWorks, a conservative grassroots organization that opposes the bill.
2. “Another infuriating aspect of this fiasco is that Democrats will treat any Obamacare ‘repeal’ bill as if it were an assault on all that is holy and patriotic. This rhetoric shouldn’t have inhibited Republicans. … Why would they let the same people who told America that Obamacare would be a political and functional success now lecture them on how unpopular a repeal bill will be?”
— David Harsanyi, National Review
1. “There is an argument that if conservatives know this bill is a turkey and will fail, it’s better that they don’t embrace it, so that the ‘free market’ doesn’t get blamed for the failures of a big government policy.”
— Philip Klein, Washington Examiner. Many conservatives believe the GOP should let the struggling Obamacare system collapse on its own, because efforts to fix the system will leave them responsible for any future problems.