Estimate Says GOP's Obamacare Repeal And Replace Plan Could Cost $600B

The same day the estimate was released, some conservative lawmakers spoke out against the bill — they said it doesn't do enough.
Posted at 7:15 PM, Mar 07, 2017

"This bill, the American Health Care Act, it keeps our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare," House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a press conference Tuesday.

And it'll cost nearly $600 billion over the next decade, according to Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation

Most of that comes from the repealing or delaying of taxes imposed under the Affordable Care Act. 

According to the committee, repealing the 3.8 percent net investment income tax would be the most costly, totaling just under $158 billion over 10 years. The tax applies to high-income individuals as well as estates and trusts.

The bill would also delay the implementation of the so-called Cadillac Tax from 2020 to 2025. It's a 40 percent tax on employers who provide high-cost insurance to employees. The committee estimates it would cost just shy of $49 billion over 10 years.

The bill would allow for an increase in the maximum contribution limit for Health Savings Accounts. That is the most costly aspect of the bill that is not a repeal or delay of taxes. The provision would cost just shy of $19 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday, "It follows the guidelines I laid out in my congressional address — a plan that will lower costs, expand choices, increase competition and ensure health care access for all Americans."

Not all Republicans are happy with the bill.

In a press conference Tuesday, members of the House Freedom Caucus and some of their Senate colleagues said the legislation doesn't go far enough.

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said, "This is, instead, a step in the wrong direction. And as much as anything, it's a missed opportunity."

"Our plan has always been repeal in one piece of legislation, replace in the other," Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said.

But some lawmakers seem hopeful. 

"But we've got a starting point, and I think amidst the horse excrement, we can find a pony around here somewhere," Rep. Louie Gohmert said.