Sen. Rand Paul offers plan to repeal most of Obamacare; would remove requirement to cover pre-existing conditions

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky “is gathering support among Republican lawmakers for an ACA replacement plan designed to make health insurance less expensive by lifting many of the health law’s key requirements,” including coverage of pre-existing conditions, which President-elect Donald Trump wants to keep, Alex Ruoff reports for the Bureau of National Affairs, a Washington newsletter service.

Kentucky was one of the states helped most by the law’s requirement to cover pre-existing conditions, according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. It said 33 percent of non-elderly Kentuckians, about 880,000 people, had pre-existing conditions that would have allowed companies to refuse to insure them.

Paul’s plan would also remove the requirement that all Americans have health insurance, which was designed to balance insurance companies’ coverage of pre-existing conditions. “The plan, similar to those floated by House Republicans recently, would expand use of tax-advantaged health savings accounts to help people afford the cost of health services,” Ruoff reports.

Sen. Rand Paul

“What we need to do is make available inexpensive insurance so healthy people will buy it,” Paul said.

Paul has been leading a push against the plan of Kentucky’s other senator, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other Republican leaders to repeal budget-related elements of Obamacare with a budget resolution, which is not subject to a filibuster and the 60-vote requirement to end it, and pass replacements elements later.

“Paul said he still supports using the budget reconciliation process to repeal the health law, but acknowledged a replacement plan would need to be passed outside reconciliation and require support from some Democrats,” Ruoff writes. There are 52 Republican senators.

“Paul’s replacement plan tracks along the plans other conservatives have introduced in recent weeks, with some key differences. He’s among those calling for the most aggressive repeal and replace timeline as well,” Ruoff reports. “Paul’s plan would lift nearly all the ACA’s major provisions and mandates, including the mandate that certain employers give their employees health insurance coverage, and would roll back requirements that define what benefits insurers must provide enrollees, known as essential health benefits.”

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