Congressman Adrian Smith insists healthcare legislation remains in process with much work to do before agreement is reached on a final bill.
Senate Republicans have eleased the outline of their proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
Smith, a Republican, says if discussions between the Senate and the House remain on point progress can be made.
“We need to keep the focus on affordable access for everyone, certainly including those with pre-existing conditions,” Smith tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call.
Smith declines to give an assessment of the Senate measure and says he hopes Senate and House negotiators can work out a measure which can pass Congress. He says he and his staff are reading the Senate proposal.
Still, Smith leaves no doubt that he favors the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010.
“We were elected and re-elected recently to repeal Obamacare and Obamacare was passed with a group of tax increases that I think have been economically punitive,” according to Smith.
Smith says the make-up of the ACA has made its replacement part of the discussion on tax reform.
“I don’t like the idea of mixing health care and tax policy, I see those as fairly separate, but yet we are tasked with undoing a big mess we have on our hands,” Smith says.
Senate Republicans have outlined a proposal which would eliminate the tax penalties used by the ACA both to encourage Americans to buy health insurance and to help pay for subsidies to help others afford health coverage; gone would be the penalties if Americans don’t buy health insurance of if large companies don’t provide health benefits.
Incentives states received to expand Medicaid would be slowly eliminated under the Senate proposal. Subsidies to pay for private insurance would be based on age and income under the Senate proposal as opposed to basing it solely on age as proposed in the House plan.
The Senate proposal does provide $50 billion over four years for states to prop up failing insurance markets across the country.
The Congressional Budget Office should provide an analysis of the Senate measure in the next few days. The CBO concluded that under the House version, 23 million Americans would lose insurance coverage by 2026.