Heritage Action To Review Revised Senate Obamacare Bill

Washington — This morning, Senate Republicans unveiled a series of changes to the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“As Heritage Action reviews and evaluates the revised legislation, it is worth reiterating that significant portions of the Republican Party have no intention of actually repealing Obamacare despite campaigning on that objective for years. Over the past two weeks, conservatives have rightly fought to interject additional consumer choice and competition into an otherwise deteriorating market. It is encouraging to see some of those concepts being considered by the Senate Republican Conference.

“To be clear, for all its disappointing omissions, the initial Senate draft would have improved upon the status quo of Obamacare by repealing several regulations and giving states wide latitude to experiment through a reformed 1332 waiver process. Additionally, it would have planted the seeds of generational Medicaid reform. Regardless of what happens later this month, it is absolutely clear that Democrats will not stop in their quest for a nationalized, single-payer scheme. Conservatives cannot cede the playing field.”

Earlier this month, Heritage Action touted Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee’s amendment in an op-ed from Needham, who wrote that “President Trump and Republican Senators should seize on this delay as an opportunity to make an imperfect bill better.” Including,

“Conservative demands for a ‘freedom option’ — essentially allowing insurance companies to sell plans that do not comply with Obamacare so long as they sell plans that do comply — have fallen on deaf ears thus far. That should change if leadership hopes to secure conservative votes. Another option, which already exists in current law but can be clarified, are ‘excepted benefits’ policies like indemnity insurance and the lightly regulated “short term limited duration” market. The Obama Administration sought, often without clear statutory authorization, to regulate these markets out of existence, denying consumers lifeboats away from Obamacare’s imploding exchanges. The Senate might make all sides happy without further changes to the 1332 waiver process merely by clarifying federal law to defend these Obamacare alternatives, which already represent a de facto version of the ‘freedom option’ sought by conservatives, from regulatory assault.”

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