- Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters
House Republicans have dropped hints recently as to how the GOP will market its replacement for the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement – and it’s in the form of a simple analogy.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told Business Insider last week that Republicans in Congress hope to replace the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare, with what he likened to a “healthcare backpack.”
The “backpack” analogy has been employed a number of times over the past year. For example, Brady used the metaphor ahead of Obama’s 2016 State of the Union address and continued to do so in various interviews over the summer and in recent days.
The metaphor even made its way into House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” plan.
“I’m absolutely confident that unlike Obamacare, we’re not going to be ripping healthcare out of the hands of the American people,” Brady told Business Insider. “We’re going to give them options that are tailored to them with plenty of time and plenty of transition so they can pick a plan that’s right for them.”
“And our concept is to replace that huge bureaucracy of Obamacare with the concept of a healthcare backpack,” the congressman added.
That backpack, he said, will center on the establishment of a healthcare savings account, easier access to electronic medical records, individual tax credits, and the elimination of Obamacare’s mandates.
“A backpack that is tailored to the needs of patients and demands of families, that can go with them throughout their lifetime,” Brady said. “From job to job and state to state and home to start a business or a family.”
The Texas Republican said he was “thrilled” with the nomination of Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a physician and staunch Obamacare critic, to head President-elect Donald Trump’s administration’s Department of Health and Human Services.
“We know to that Americans wanted change,” Brady said of Trump’s election. “So the opportunity to provide that backpack that’s tailored and travels with you … that type of unprecedented freedom and choice, all focused on the patient, is the biggest change we’re proposing.”
Repealing and replacing Obama’s signature healthcare law will be an uphill climb, even as Republicans control both branches of Congress and the presidency.
There will likely be a transition period of roughly three years, as some Republican senators have said, between when the bill is repealed and when the replacement is implemented. And Republicans will face strong opposition from Democrats, who’ve said repealing and replacing the healthcare law would lead to millions of Americans losing their health insurance.