House Republicans finally released their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and several conservative lawmakers aligned with the Freedom Caucus are not impressed.
The bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act, offers health care tax credits and continues Medicaid expansion for three years, among other provisions. "This is ObamaCare by a different form," Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the former chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told Politico. "They're still keeping the taxes in place and Medicaid expansion, and they're starting a new entitlement." The Freedom Caucus' current chairman, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-S.C.), said on Fox News the biggest concern he has is if the bill will lower health care costs, and "until we get that answer, we have to hold out judgment."
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a member of the Freedom Caucus, told Politico he will not vote for the bill in its current structure because it "maintains many of the federal features including a new entitlement program as well as most of the insurance regulations," adding that he has "seen no evidence that this bill will bring the cost curve down." House Republican leaders are bracing for conservatives and moderates to oppose the measure, and can lose no more than 22 votes.
On the Senate side, four Republican senators told Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday they will not vote for any ACA repeal bill that eliminates Medicaid expansion. In a letter to McConnell, Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) said they "believe Medicaid needs to be reformed, but reform should not come at the cost of disruption in access to healthcare for our country's most vulnerable and sickest individuals." All four of the senators represent Medicaid expansion states.