On Thursday, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul went on a Twitter rampage accusing House Republicans of hiding their plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Paul said, “I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock & key, in a secure location, & not available for me or the public to view.”
I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock & key, in a secure location, & not available for me or the public to view.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 2, 2017
Sen. Paul’s claim has been backed by several Democrats. Rep. Nancy Pelosi addressed the secrecy in a press briefing Thursday, while the official Twitter account for the Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committed offered pictures of police officers literally guarding the bill.
House Republicans are literally guarding their health care bill with Capitol Police. Is it *that* dangerous? pic.twitter.com/Z5HkHOHnF0
— Ways and Means Dems (@WaysMeansCmte) March 2, 2017
You may recall that in 2009, there were Republican complaints that they did not have time to read the bill before Democrats pushed the Affordable Care Act to a vote.
In a Thursday press briefing, House Majority Leader Representative Paul Ryan denied. The assertions of secrecy, saying that the bill has been planned out since last year and that all of Congress and the White House are on the same page when it comes to the “collapsing legislation.” Rep. Ryan pointed to current Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price’s proposals as the framework for the new bill. But those comments simply point to a general direction of the bill. No key details are available for the new Republican plan. It remains to be seen how the bill will handle the millions that gained coverage under the ACA and how the bill will cover patients with preexisting conditions.
Price’s “Empowering Patients First Act of 2015” bill allowed people to set aside more tax-free money for heath care spending, but also increased premiums for more high-risk patients like the elderly, smokers, or those with pre-existing conditions. Under his bill Tax credits would have bee available for people to purchase health care, instead of outright government subsidies. Individual states, through federal funding, would have been responsible for providing healthcare for high-risk patients that could not afford care under the new plan.
Small government advocates, like Sen. Rand Paul, say versions of that bill don’t go far enough to end the ACA. “I will not vote for Obamacare Lite nor will many of my colleagues. We will keep our word. I call on House leaders to do the same,” Sen. Paul said on Twitter.
Across the aisle, Democrats worry that a hybrid Price-Ryan plan would unfairly place the burden of healthcare on seniors and the poor. Unfortunately, until the House reveals their new plan, no one can be sure what the Republicans are planning.
*UPDATE – Maryland’s Rep. Steny Hoyer is live-streaming his search for the bill. Other Democrats, as well as Senator Paul are Tweeting as their search for the bill continues.
Follow me live as I search for the House GOP’s secret ACA repeal bill they are hiding from Members & the public https://t.co/PKf16Gqz6x
— Steny Hoyer (@WhipHoyer) March 2, 2017