There’s Bipartisan Frustration Over the Replacement Plan for Obamacare
Lisa Lake

On Thursday members of the Energy and Commerce Committee were told that they be able to see the replacement plan to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

A meeting never happened. In fact, it appears that the plan was kept under wraps— if it’s even been written at all.

“This should be an open and transparent process,” Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said after going from room to room in the Capitol to find it. “This is being presented as if it were a national secret, as if this was a plot to invade another country, as if this were national security. That’s wrong.”

According to CNN, Paul ventured to the House Thursday afternoon after reports surfaced that House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee were being granted an opportunity to review the current draft of the Obamacare repeal legislation and ask questions behind closed doors.

But Rand’s frustration was felt across the aisle, by democrats who were barred from seeing the top-secret legislation that will affect millions of Americans. 

In a joint House meeting, New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone went off.

“It seems like everyone knows there’s going to be a mark up in the committee next Wednesday of the Affordable Care Act, except for the democrats who haven’t been told anything.”

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“I just want to read this statement from the speaker [Paul Ryan]. The speaker on the Today show on Feb 28 said, ‘The majority’s proposed ACA replacement legislation will be carefully and completed through the committee process with public engagement and transparency. We’re going through the committee process step-by-step… We’re not hatching some bill in a backroom and plopping it on the American people’s front door.'”

Adding, “Well I’ve been told, not by republicans, not by the chairman, not by you, but by K Street and everyone else around here that you guys can go down to room H-157 right now as we speak and go in there to the basement, the secret basement —that the speaker says will never happen— and look at the bill that’s going to be marked up next Wednesday. But I can’t go down there. Maybe the lobbyists know where it is, they know what’s in it. I don’t know what the media knows, but they certainly know there’s a markup. Maybe the Russian ambassador is down there and he can tell us what’s in the bill. Maybe they’ll let him in. But they won’t let me in.” 

Speculated theory is that republicans are keeping the plan under wraps, not allowing the majority of Congress to see it, in hopes of debuting the bill after changes can no longer be made. 

A Quinnipiac University national poll released in January found that only 16 percent of Americans want congressional republicans to repeal the ACA in its entirety. 

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