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House Freedom Caucus on Affordable Care Act Replacement
Sen. Rand Paul, who has come out against House Republicans' new health care bill, speaks at a news conference on replacing the Affordable Care Act in Washington D.C. on Feb. 15, 2017.  Bill Clark—CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

Major Conservative Groups Have Big Problems With the GOP Obamacare Replacement Bill

Mar 07, 2017

Although House Republicans are touting their new healthcare bill as an improved replacement for the Affordable Care Act, several prominent conservative groups and Senators disagree.

Those who have disavowed the bill include Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul, as well as major conservative groups like Club for Growth and Heritage Action. Their reasons for rejecting the bill all differ, but none are satisfied with the proposed legislation.

"This is Obamacare Lite, it will not pass," Paul said this morning on Fox and Friends. "Conservatives are not going to take it." Paul was specifically objecting to the fact that Republicans retained Obamacare taxes and an individual mandate to purchase insurance, but the penalty is paid to the insurance companies instead of the government.

Heritage Action, a sister group of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, echoed Paul, writing in a statement that Americans will notice "no significant difference" between this bill and the Affordable Care act.

Paul's colleague, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, didn't mention similarities to Obamacare, but called the bill a "missed opportunity," said there are still too many unknown factors.

"We don’t know how many people would use this new tax credit, we don’t know how much it will cost, and we don’t know if this bill will make healthcare more affordable for Americans," Lee said in a statement.

Lee also noted the proposal is " exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for, and it is not what we promised the American people.”

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative organization backed the Koch brothers, also came out against the bill, with its president even rallying on Capitol Hill. "We have spent tens and tens of millions to fully repeal Obamacare, and we'll commit whatever resources” a spokesman for the group told USA Today.

Club for Growth President David McIntosh said today he could not support the bill because it doesn't include the option of selling health insurance across state lines.

"If this warmed-over substitute for government-run healthcare remains unchanged, the Club for Growth will key vote against it," McIntosh said in a statement. "Republicans should be offering a full and immediate repeal of Obamacare’s taxes, regulations, and mandates, an end to the Medicaid expansion, and inclusion of free-market reforms, like interstate competition.”

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