While House Republicans have already celebrated their passage of a bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act, several of their GOP colleagues at the other end of the Capitol have already said the House version of the legislation is untenable.
“At this point, there seem to be more questions than answers about its consequences,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement of the House bill.
Collins and a group of other Senate Republicans had already expressed concerns about the original version of the House bill, initially floated in March. But the new version of the House bill, which contains added provisions that would ease requirements that insurers cover pre-existing conditions, does little to assuage the senators’ initial concerns.
Senate leaders said Thursday that while they will review the House bill, they will also write their own version of a health care overhaul. But the differences among individual senators, and the fact that there can be no more than two Republican defections for the bill to pass – underscores the challenge the Senate has ahead of it in coming up with a bill that satisfies enough holdouts.
Conservative GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas all tweeted after the original House bill’s introduction that they would oppose anything short of a full repeal of Obamacare. They also said the House bill’s tax credit structure to help people pay for coverage amounted to a new entitlement, too similar to the subsidies available under Obamacare.
The latest House bill would provide tax credits between $2,000 and $14,000 a year for individuals who don’t get insurance coverage from an employer or the governments. The tax credits would be based on age instead of income, increasing as a person gets older.
After the House vote Thursday, Paul said he opposed the House bill because it guarantees “the fundamental promise of Obamacare kept.”