One health policy expert believes that a new health reform bill that's been proposed on Capitol Hill shows why Republicans struggle with replacing ObamaCare.
Harris Meyer of ModernHealthcare.com writes that sweeping new legislation unveiled by two congressional Republicans to partly repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act highlights the formidable political and policy changes the GOP faces in taking on a law that "has significantly expanded coverage and made popular changes in insurance practices."
The bill in question – the Health Empowerment Liberty Plan (HELP) – is authored by Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana). While the lawmakers aim to do away with mandates that big employers provide coverage and that virtually everyone have some form of health insurance, Sessions and Cassidy are in favor of a $2,500-per-person tax credit for buying coverage.
Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the Independent Women's Forum, argues that H.R. 5284 reflects the reality of the current political environment.
"I think the presentation or sponsorship of this legislation is an indication that Republicans are recognizing the future of our political landscape is uncertain; and in that uncertain atmosphere, there may need to be compromises that are made in terms of the Affordable Care Act," says Manning.
Manning does think that "the best policy" Republicans have worked and tried for many times is to repeal the ACA and replace it with a set of free-market reforms.
"But what this bill represents is sort of an improvement or a reform of the Affordable Care Act, rather than a total repeal and replace," the policy analyst continues.
"… Many of the ideas in this legislation are similar to those that would replace the ACA under the ideal free-market policy, but it just doesn't go as far because, of course, it leaves in place some of the policy measures taken by the ACA."
Meanwhile, Congressman Tom Price (R-Georgia) continues to push his own legislation called the Empowering Patients First Act (H.R. 2300). It would fully repeal ObamaCare and start over with what Price calls "patient-centered solutions." In a recent interview with Tony Perkins on "Washington Watch," Price said he expects the GOP to agree on a plan in time for this year's presidential conventions.