House Freedom Caucus wants Obamacare repeal now

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that Republicans will introduce a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare when lawmakers return from next week's recess. But not everyone in the party is ready to move forward without an adequate plan to take to their voters back home. The White House isn't providing the leadership on Obamacare, so Rand Paul seems to be taking over. "I can't tell you how many families, how many small businesses, how many patients have been hurt by the Affordable Care Act", Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said, adding that his fellow Republican's are "working to provide relief to the families that have been damaged by Obamacare". In interviews about what he might introduce, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said that a "refundable tax credit" would be created to help consumers pay for plans, an echo of the subsidies now available to people who purchase plans in ACA-created exchanges. "I fully recognize and respect the strong feelings that people have about this issue. I don't think "Obamacare-lite" is what we should do", Paul said. "That is why we are taking a step-by-step approach so that people can see the changes that we are making, so they can see how they will help".

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker tells Politico, "Instead of continuing to spin our wheels, we need a starting place".

It was offered by members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and mirrors a similar piece of legislation introduced in the Senate by Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky.

By insisting that the repeal bill be as forceful as that 2015 measure ― which technically got to President Barack Obama's desk at the beginning of 2016 ― conservatives have staked out a hard line that some GOP moderates may now have a problem following. "Virtually every Republican supported it when we did it the last time".

Republicans made the repeal and replacement of Obamacare a major promise of their election campaigns past year. But these challenges may prove intractable, and as the narrative among Republicans has shifted from "repeal and replace" to include a third "r"- "repair"-and the timeline for dismantling the law has extended, conservatives are beginning to worry that the window of opportunity to kill Obamacare is closing". For a leader of the House Freedom Caucus, the largest group of bloviating grandstanders in the House of Representatives, that would have been quite a breakthrough. "There may be some people who will get weak-kneed".

"I think Obamacare is in a tailspin and that's why we have to act to do something about it".

"The House passed six Obamacare repeals when Obama was president and there was no chance of them being signed into law", Coulter wrote. Meadows said the Freedom Caucus opposes the idea of a subsidy, and a tax credit only benefits those who make enough money to pay taxes. But other Republicans have dismissed the suggestion. They appeared unfazed by the mounting concerns of consumers, insurers, health care executives and governors that the GOP may be headed down a treacherous path.

"If we're just going to replace Obamacare with Obamacare light, that begs the question: were we just against Obamacare because it was proposed by Democrat?" asked Freedom Caucus member Rep. Raul Labrador.

  • Larry Hoffman