>> To not just repel but also to replace Obamacare.>> House speaker Paul Ryan Wednesday, unveiling the long awaited Republican alternative to Obamacare with many details still unknown.>> I'm Andy Sullivan on Capitol Hill. Ryan's proposal comes six years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.
Republicans have voted more than 60 times since then to repeal Obama Care, but, until now, they haven't presented a plan of their own. This is part of Ryan's broader effort to showcase Republican ideas ahead of the November election, and bolster the notion that the party can do more than just oppose Obama's policies.
The proposal includes long-held Republican positions, allowing consumers to buy health insurance across state lines, expanding the use of health savings accounts, and giving states block grants to run Medicaid programs. The program would remove a cornerstone of Obamacare, requiring that most Americans carry health insurance, the so called individual mandate.
Obamacare proponents say that mandate is necessary to ensure enough healthy people carry insurance in order to keep premiums low. Ryan's plan instead offers a tax credit to those that buy insurance. The plan keeps some of Obamacare's most popular elements including requiring insurance companies to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents' health plans up until age 26.
Now that Republicans have a plan of their own, they're going to have to defend it. Ryan didn't say how much his plan will cost and now that healthcare makes up roughly 20% of the US economy, any changes will have a dramatic impact on hospitals, employers and yes, consumers too.
Democrats are likely to say that the plan will rollback coverage for seniors and the most vulnerable. Attacks that have worked well for them in the past and are likely to play out on the campaign trail in the months to come.