GOP Presidential Candidates Scott Walker And Marco Rubio Release Plans to Repeal And Replace The Affordable Care Act
For the last five years, Republicans have been attacking the Affordable Care Act, in word and deed. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans oppose repeal efforts, conservatives have promised to “repeal and replace” the law, and congressional Republicans have voted more than 50 times to repeal it. Yet in these five years, no Republican lawmaker has offered a real plan to provide affordable health coverage to Americans. Scott Walker and Marco Rubio’s replacement plans, released today, are no different.
Unsurprisingly, both Walker and Rubio’s plans would repeal the ACA, which would wreak havoc on the entire health care industry. Here are just a few examples showing the effect of repealing the ACA:
- 19 million: the number of people who would lose coverage, including those enrolled in marketplace plans and through Medicaid.
- 129 million: the number of people with pre-existing conditions who will no longer be protected from discrimination.
- $137 billion: the estimated increase in federal budget deficit over ten years.
- 8.7 million: the number of people receiving premium tax credits, who would lose them if the law were repealed.
Walker actually proposes giving Americans some form of tax credit to pay for health care coverage, but rather than basing tax credits on income—like the Affordable Care Act does—Walker’s plan would base tax credits on age. This could significantly hurt low-income people who could see a substantial cut to their tax credits based on Walker’s system. Not to mention the fact that, at the proposed level, Walker’s credit system would not come close to covering the cost of decent coverage. Rubio’s plan also gives no indication that his proposed tax credit would be sufficient to pay for good health care coverage.
Neither Walker nor Rubio’s plan contains new ideas. Instead, each rehashes the same old, stale conservative mantra. For instance, both support block granting Medicaid, an idea that Rep. Paul Ryan has proposed in his budget for years and which Gov. Romney endorsed in his unsuccessful 2012 bid for president. Block granting Medicaid would cripple a vital program that has provided health coverage to 80 million Americans in 2014. Although neither Walker nor Rubio provides much detail on their block grant proposals, the amount of money provided to states through block grants typically increase each year more slowly than the growth in health care costs, so block granting funding would mean Medicaid would get squeezed more and more. As a result, Paul Ryan’s Medicaid block grant proposal would lead to 14-20 million low-income people losing their health coverage.
BOTTOM LINE: The American people support the ACA, the Supreme Court upheld it, and the GOP’s continued efforts to undermine it only serve to show how out-of-touch Republican lawmakers are. The Affordable Care Act has been woven into the fabric of our health care system, repealing the law and replacing it with old, failed policies will have a devastating impact on hard working Americans.
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