Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have started what could turn out to be an avalanche of proposals by GOP presidential candidates to repeal and replace Obamacare, but the repeal part seems to be the only thing the hopefuls can agree on.
Walker’s plan, outlined Tuesday in a 15-page policy paper that provides no price tag, would junk President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement for one centered on an age-based, refundable tax-credit system. The subsidies would be given to people who aren’t eligible for employer-provided insurance or Medicare, and range from $900 per year for someone under 17 to $3,000 for a person over 50.
In a speech in Minnesota, Walker said he would send legislation to Congress on his first day in the Oval Office “that will once and for all repeal Obamacare entirely and replace it in a way that puts patients and their families back in charge of their health care decisions.”
It didn’t take long for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another White House contender, to label the tax-credit method as another entitlement on par with Obamacare itself.
“In Governor Walker’s plan, a new entitlement is created for every single American human being from the time they are born right up until they grow old and become eligible for Medicare,” Jindal said in a statement. “It is frankly shocking that a Republican candidate for President would author a cradle to grave plan like this."
He added that while there are “good features” to Walker’s plan, Republicans must “have more courage than this. Surely we can do better than simply producing our own versions of Obamacare lite.”
Jindal rolled out his own healthcare proposal last year. It called for the federal government to devote $100 billion over 10 years to state-based programs for high-risk patients, or those with existing conditions, and tax exclusion for replaced employer-given insurance with a standard deduction.
On Monday, Rubio published an op-ed in Politico outlining his health care plan, but it largely rehashed talking points from another opinion piece published earlier this year and offered few specific policy recommendations.
Taken together, the developments point to what may be a new litmus test for the GOP contenders: Who is willing to go the farthest to replace Obamacare?