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Mike Lee: Republican Obamacare replacement is 'a step in the wrong direction

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee has announced his opposition to the newly unveiled House GOP bill to replace Obamacare. (Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)

Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) said Tuesday that the House Republicans' alternative to Obamacare, the American Health Care Act, which was unveiled Monday evening, is “a step in the wrong direction.”

During the unveiling, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the American Health Care Act “is a plan to drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance.”

Lee, however, expressed opposition to the plan in a Tuesday statement.

“This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for. It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction,” Lee said.

According to the New York Times, the American Health Care Act would replace Obamacare’s individual mandate with a system of tax credits lawmakers hope would incentives Americans to purchase their own plans, although the credits would eventually be reduced and phased out. It would also roll back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid.

Lee said the proposal does not fulfill the promises about health care Republicans made to the American people.

“We promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington,” Lee said. “This bill does not do that. We don’t know how many people would use this new tax credit, we don’t know how much it will cost, and we don’t know if this bill will make health care more affordable for Americans.”

Lee added that the proposal “is exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for, and it is not what we promised the American people.”

“Let’s fulfill our Obamacare repeal promise immediately and then take our time and do reform right,” Lee argued. “Let’s pass the 2015 repeal bill that Republicans in both houses of Congress voted for and sent to the White House just 15 months ago. Once Obamacare has been properly sent to the dustbin of history then we can begin a deliberative, open, and honest process to reform our nation’s health care system.”

In addition to Lee, lawmakers in the House Freedom Caucus have indicated that they will not support the plan.

Meanwhile, four Republican senators — Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — objected to the plan’s rollback of Medicaid expansions, arguing it would not adequately protect their constituents.

One last thing…
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