Here are highlights from a WaPo report:
Republican Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) released Thursday what is arguably the most complete Obamacare replacement plan offered by their party to date.The full report is here.
The replacement plan has structural similarities to Obamacare.
Both Obamacare and the replacement plan include tax subsidies for low- to middle-income Americans, although they're structured a bit differently. The Republican replacement plan would let Americans use tax credits to purchase insurance coverage if they earned less than 300 percent of the poverty line (about $36,000 for an individual). Subsidies in Obamacare go up to 400 percent of the poverty line. The Republican plan envisions anyone below 300 percent of the poverty line qualifying for these subsidies, whereas Obamacare has those who earn less than 133 percent of the poverty line (about $15,000) become eligible for Medicaid.
The biggest, most significant difference between Obamacare and the replacement plan is about financing -- how you pay for all those insurance subsidies. The replacement plan repeals a whole slew of industry taxes that had the insurance companies, hospitals and medical device makers all helping to foot the bill. Those are gone. In their place is a limit on the the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored insurance.
Right now, the federal government does not tax health insurance when it is provided to an employee by an employer. The Republican plan would limit the tax exclusion to 65 percent of the average health insurance plan. Any amount of a premium beyond that amount would need to be paid with post-tax dollars. There's no estimate on how many people this would effect and how much more they would pay for premiums, but Republican Senate aides do say it's true that people who receive more robust policies from their employers would pay more for premiums.
People -- especially the 56 percent of Americans under 65 who get their insurance through their employer -- tend to hate the idea of ending this health insurance tax exclusion because it means the same exact health benefit package they get right now could get a whole lot more expensive.