WASHINGTON -- Republicans began pushing their Obamacare replacement bill through two House committees Wednesday, trying to outpace mounting criticism.
First the American Medical Association came out against it. Then the AARP did, warning “this bill would ... dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64” in the individual market.
That age group would see the largest cuts to their Obamacare tax credits -- in some cases, by more than $5,000 a year.
At the same time, insurers would be allowed to charge them premiums five times larger than younger Americans up from the three-to-one ratio under Obamacare.
Standard and Poors estimates that those changes, plus cuts to Medicaid, would lead to 6 to 10 million Americans losing coverage.
“This is a bad joke! No wonder you’ve been hiding this dog in a cave with an armed guard until Monday night,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Michael Doyle.
Republican leaders argued Americans are already losing coverage as insurance companies pull out of Obamacare’s exchanges.
“Families are facing over $10,000 deductibles in many cases because of the unworkable taxes and mandates in this bill,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana
But their main sales pitch right now is aimed at their own right flank. “This is a conservative wish list! Look at what this bill does,” said Speaker Paul Ryan.
Holdouts like Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul say the bill is too big and too expensive.
“I saw the president said he was open to negotiations,” Paul said. “Right now I’m reading ‘The Art of the Deal’ and when I get through ‘The Art of the Deal’ then I think I’ll be ready to negotiate with the president.”
Republicans want the House to vote on the bill within the next two weeks, even though members still do not know how much it costs or how it will be paid for.