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House Republicans propose healthcare system overhaul

June 26, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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House Republicans are proposing changes to the nation’s healthcare system, including raising Medicare eligibility from age 65 to 67 years old.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan, A Better Way, addresses restricted patient choice, increasing consumer cost and burying employers and healthcare providers under the Affordable Care Act. The proposal is part of a broader overhaul that also includes tax reform, poverty and national security.

House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged the changes won’t come any time before the general election in November. "We're not going to repeal Obamacare when the current president of the United States is a guy named Obama," Ryan told reporters. “What we are laying out today is a first-time-in-six-years consensus by the Republicans in the House on what we replace Obamacare with.”

The plan would gradually raise the Medicare eligibility age to age 67 for people born in 1960 or later to match the Social Security pension. It would also allow consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines, expand health saving accounts, reform medical liability rules and administer block grants to states to run Medicaid programs for the poor. The plan would cap the tax deductibility of employer-based plans.

Republicans say the plan would keep some the ACA’s more popular provisions, including not allowing people with pre-existing conditions to be denied coverage and permitting children to stay on their parent’s plan until age 26. States that already expanded the number of people eligible for Medicaid could maintain the additional coverage. A refundable tax credit would be established for people without insurance through their employer.

The plan has not yet been introduced in formal legislation. Democrats dismiss the proposal as “warmed-over ideas that have long been in the Republican playbook,” reports Reuters.