NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Is Obamacare Winning Over Republican Lawmakers?

April 1, 2015

Former Speaker of the U.S. Representatives Newt Gingrich said something last week that many feared, but few have been willing to admit: Republicans in Congress have no intention of repealing and replacing Obamacare with patient-centered health reform.

Now that we are in the twilight of the Obama presidency, and Republicans have majorities in both chambers of Congress, they should be able to put such charges to rest, says NCPA senior fellow John R. Graham. Unfortunately, last week's overwhelming bipartisan support in the House of Representatives for a deal to lock in Obamacare's way of paying doctors sends a terrible signal.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was secretly negotiated by Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, while House and Senate Republicans debated their budget resolutions in public. Importantly, the House budget resolution embraced the so-called Ryan Medicare reform, which would improve Medicare for those entering the program in 2024 and subsequent years by giving us a much greater choice of health plans.

For years, President Obama has consistently attacked this proposal, and this year has been no exception. MACRA also rejects this reform, which explains why President Obama has already indicated his eagerness to sign the new bill. As a consequence, the House budget resolution looks like pantomime, while MACRA is clearly the real deal - adding half a trillion dollars to the debt and confirming the Obamacare vision of Medicare.

Fortunately, the Senate still has to vote on MACRA. Senators will have to solve both MACRA's fiscal problems and increasing federal control of the practice of medicine if they want to avoid the charge of endorsing Obamacare.

Source: John R. Graham, "Have House Republicans Cast Their First Vote for Obamacare?" National Center for Policy Analysis, April 1, 2015

 

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