Dems: Millions would lose coverage under GOP healthcare plan

By:  Sarah Ferris
The Hill

Two Democratic senators are mocking the latest Republican plan to replace ObamaCare, arguing it could result in “millions and millions” of people losing insurance.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who spearheads the Senate’s “ACA Works” campaign, dismissed the new GOP replacement plan as a “nonstarter” and knocked Republicans for releasing a nine-page outline instead of a full legislative proposal.

“My Republican friends have had five years and they still haven’t produced actual legislation,” he said. “We’re still flying a little blind.”

Murphy hosted a call with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) on Thursday in response to the Republican party’s newest alternative to ObamaCare, which was released late Wednesday.

Baldwin said the new proposal is “really a rehash of a lot of old ideas” that she said would undo healthcare reforms that had been introduced under ObamaCare.

The latest GOP plan — written by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) — would give back much of the healthcare regulatory power to states.

Under the plan, individuals would no longer be required to buy healthcare coverage and employers would no longer be required to offer it. People who already have government insurance through Medicaid would be given tax credits to buy private plans, and middle and upper-income families would no longer qualify for financial help.

Their proposal would keep two of the most popular provisions of ObamaCare: the protections for people with preexisting conditions and the rule that allows young adults to say on their parent’s plans until age 26.

The GOP has hustled to create an ObamaCare replacement plan since the Supreme Court decided last fall to take up a case challenging billions of dollars of healthcare subsidies.

The case’s big question is whether the text of ObamaCare allows states to hand out subsidies if they did not create their own healthcare exchange. If the court rules against the Obama administration this summer, it would impact people in the 37 states that opted to use the federal exchange.

Murphy, who helped draft ObamaCare in 2010, said there is “absolutely no question in my mind” that the law intended to create subsidies for all 50 states.