Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) joined Fox News Special Report with Bret Baier to discuss the American Health Care Act—the House Republican legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Excerpts of Chairman Brady’s interview:
Bret Baier: Chairman Brady, let me start with you and Ways and Means and, I guess, the tax part of the equation.
Chairman Brady: It’s been seven years since Obamacare was passed into law. It is collapsing. It has hurt more people than it’s helped. So tonight we deliver on President Trump’s promise to repeal and begin replacing it with two big principles. One, to restore state control of health care and get it out of Washington. And we also restore the free market. Give individuals the power and the freedom to choose plans that are right for them. That second part is in the Ways and Means area.
We begin by repealing the awful taxes, the mandate penalties, and the subsidies in Obamacare. And to give Americans the freedom to buy plans that they need. That includes nearly doubling the size of the health savings accounts and make them more usable. That’s good for the out-of-pocket costs. But we give them a tax credit, immediately usable, that ranges in price from $2,000 to $14,000 a year, depends upon their age and their family. And with that, they can buy affordable plans that are approved and certified in the state that they are in. These are plans that they need and can use, not the plans that Washington has been dictating to them.
Baier: How is this, Chairman Brady, not “Obamacare Lite” from your perspective?
Chairman Brady: It is “Obamacare gone” because we repeal all those taxes, those mandates, those subsidies. There is nothing left there. Instead, we give them the same tax break that we give workers at big businesses. We give that same tax help to small business people. Those mom and pop businesses, workers at small businesses, even those entrepreneurs and families in between jobs, the ability to buy a plan that is right for them. And I think maybe, most importantly, we are giving Americans the freedom who haven’t gotten health care at work and they don’t have it in a government program, freedom like they’ve never had before to buy health care that is right for them. This is clearly “Obamacare gone” and new freedom.
Baier: Last thing on this, are the tax credits means tested?
Chairman Brady: We want to make sure that as you get older, your health care premium increases, your tax credit increases. Also, as your family expands, we want it to expand with you, as well. We focused it really on the low- and middle-income families who don’t get health care at work. This is really important whether you are a young person just leaving school and are on your parent’s health care. Whether you are a small business person just struggling to make ends meet or you are a retiree who’s worked your whole life and there’s a few years left before Medicare. This really fits what Americans need.
Baier: Chairman Brady, I want to turn to you. Where do you think the biggest pushback even within your own caucus is going to come from? I know you’re preaching this and the bill goes out tonight. But honestly, you can’t lose more than 21 votes in your caucus to get it through the House, let alone what you are going to face in the Senate. Where do you think the biggest pushback comes from?
Chairman Brady: I’m confident we are going to pass this and deliver on President Trump’s promise to repeal and replace. Look, these policies have passed the House a number of times in the repeal area. The replacements are long-standing Republican policies of giving control back to the states and to the individuals, as well. We are making sure this is fiscally responsible, as well. I see all of the elements are there. We’ve been listening very carefully to our Republican members for months now and over the weekend as well to make sure we get it right for them. The changes you see in this legislation that’s online tonight and available for Americans to read, I think are exactly in the right place.
Baier: For Conservatives, are you willing — is the Speaker, the leadership willing — to use the political capital here to bring conservatives over? And then you have the debt ceiling, possible government shutdown battles, the tax reform issue. Chairman Brady is the political capital going to be used on this?
Chairman Brady: Yes it is and it should be. This is one of our key promises as Republicans. We know we can do so much better than Obamacare. I think the proposal we lay out tonight in that step-by-step basis, which is just the opposite of the Affordable Care Act, is exactly what the American people need. I guarantee you, House Republicans are going to deliver for the President.
VISIT ReadTheBill.gop to read the American Health Care Act.
CLICK HERE to read Chairman Brady’s statement on the legislation.