The Agenda

The RSC’s Forthcoming Health Reform Bill

The Republican Study Committee is planning to release a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The RSC’s chairman, Steve Scalise, recently spoke to Emma Dumain of The Hill:

“We want to make sure that, when it’s rolled out, that people who have an interest in health care, from families to small and large business groups, all understand just what the difference is between our bill and the president’s health care law,” Scalise said, demurring on whether the RSC would need outside stakeholders’ approval in order to move forward with the bill’s introduction. “There are very dramatic differences, not just in the policy but in the cost.”

He declined to detail specifics — and those specifics have tripped up GOP efforts in the past. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s effort earlier this year to shift some Obamacare funding into state high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions tanked after a conservative backlash. Indeed, some conservatives and outside groups simply want to leave the issue up to the states and are far more interested in “repeal” than “replace.”

Because the RSC has 173 members, or all but 61 of the Republican members of the House, the RSC proposal is likely to get a respectful hearing at the very least. My sense is that the RSC proposal is likely to be relatively modest, with a focus on reforming the tax treatment of medical insurance and state high risk pools, but that it is still evolving. It is encouraging that RSC members are working to identify an alternative, and one hopes that they choose to be more ambitious rather than less.

Reihan Salam is president of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

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