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Surprise! Republicans’ Obamacare Replacement Would Hurt the Poor

The just-unveiled bill would defund Planned Parenthood, take back the Medicaid expansion, and tear down most of the Affordable Care Act.

Eve Peyser

Eve Peyser

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

On Monday afternoon, House Republicans led by Speaker Paul Ryan released their bill—previously hidden in a basement—that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a significantly less generous package. The Medicaid expansion that provided insurance to many poor people in states that accepted it would be gone under this bill. The mandate for people to buy insurance—an unpopular piece of the ACA that is necessary for it to work—would be abolished. So would the subsidies that help low-income people buy insurance.

The Hill reports that in place of subsidies would be a new tax credit system that givesbetween $2,000 and $4,000 per year to subsidize your healthcare costs. These credits "would provide less financial assistance for low-income and older people than Obamacare, but could give more assistance to younger people and those with somewhat higher incomes," according to the Hill. In other words, it's a health insurance bill that primarily benefits people who don't need insurance.

The bill would also defund Planned Parenthood for a year, allow health insurance companies to charge seniors more than they can under current law, and makes insurance more expensive for people who have gone more than 63 days without continuous coverage, among other changes.

The Washington Post reports that four Republican senators—Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—have promised to vote down any healthcare bill that doesn't cover "Americans who became eligible for coverage under the ACA's expansion of Medicaid." That suggests that this bill in its current form wouldn't pass the Senate, where the Republicans have a slim majority—even if it got past the House. 

The bill hasn't been scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

Follow Eve Peyser on Twitter.

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