HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Text of ObamaCare replacement bill coming this week, source says

Mike Emanuel reports from Capitol Hill

 

Top Republican lawmakers plan to release the text of their bill to replace ObamaCare this week, a GOP aide told Fox News late Sunday. 

The aide said staffers met with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Friday to resolve outstanding issues with the bill. Health care committees from both houses of Congress worked with the White House to tie up any loose ends. 

The aide added that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price and Mulvaney took part in a conference call Saturday to help "close out open issues."

"We are now at the culmination of a years-long process to keep our promise to the American people," said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong.

Earlier Sunday, House Republicans tried to staunch criticism about a secretive and stalled process by revealing some specifics and vowing the full bill would soon be available for review.

“This plan will be out next week, and everybody will have a chance to see it,” Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter, a pharmacy owner and Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told Fox News’ “America’s News Headquarters.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a physician with his own ObamaCare replacement plan, last week staged a media event in the Capitol building -- complete with a portable copy machine -- to find a draft of what he called House Republican leadership’s “secret” bill.

Ryan has dismissed such allegations by Paul and congressional Democrats, vowing last week that the bill would go through an open committee process.

The Wisconsin lawmaker and other top House Republicans have also insisted that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which associates costs with the bill, knows the details of the measure and claimed that revealing too much information could give critics an opportunity to defeat the bill before it’s even made public.

Essentially every elected Washington Republican, including President Trump, campaigned on a promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare amid increasing consumer costs and dwindling options.

However, Americans are concerned that repeal efforts will result in roughly 11 million people losing their health care coverage without a replacement.

Carter said that under the new plan, Americans with pre-existing medical conditions will qualify for coverage, like they did under President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act.

He also said the replacement plan will still allow young adults to stay on their parents’ plans and include health saving accounts, which he described as “stalwarts” features.

Carter, whose Commerce committee will be a key House panel in reviewing the ObamaCare draft bill, also said insurance plans won’t be limited to the states in which they were bought and that ObamaCare’s so-called “individual mandate, or penalty for not buying insurance, will not be included.

“We've said we're trying to get a plan that is more accessible, more affordable and that's patient centered,” Carter said. “That's the key.”

Fox News' Lauren Blanchard and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.