Maybe not all of the Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed. Congressional Republicans may hold off repealing some of the taxes associated with the measure to provide funding for whatever replacement legislation is developed, sources told the Hill Wednesday.
“Members are still reviewing all options on the table and no decisions have been finalized about how we will smoothly transition away from this failing law and toward reforms that deliver affordable, quality, health care choices based on what patients and families need,” a House GOP aide said.
More than 6.4 million Americans have signed up for ACA coverage beginning Jan. 1, 400,000 more than signed up for policies last year, despite average premium increases of 22 percent for the benchmark silver plans.
“Today’s enrollment numbers confirm that some of the doomsday predictions about the marketplace are not bearing out,” Health Secretary Sylvia Burwell told CNNMoney. “American people don’t want to go backwards. They don’t want to gamble with their healthcare during a repeal and delay.”
The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said it fears Republicans could cut both Medicaid and Medicare to fund replacement legislation if all the taxes are repealed.
“Such changes would put the health and financial status of tens of millions of Americans at risk — including low-income families, people with disabilities, and seniors covered through Medicaid and Medicare — on top of the people who would lose coverage due to ACA repeal,” the center said, adding a flat out repeal of the ACA would result in the near-collapse of the individual insurance market.
The ACA includes a number of taxes on industry groups and people along with Medicare taxes for high earners that helped fund coverage expansion. Some conservatives want the entire law repealed but others reportedly are pushing to keep some of the taxes to fund future legislation.
“There needs to be some source of revenue,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who earlier this year introduced a replacement plan, told the Hill.
An analysis from the Brookings Institution noted Republicans would be left with less than half the funds needed to pay for a replacement law and jeopardize Medicare if all of the ACA’s taxes are repealed.
“These tax cuts would make it much more difficult to achieve a sustainable replacement plan that provides meaningful coverage without increasing deficits,” Brookings said.
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