A group of House conservatives will recommend their own Obamacare replacement on Wednesday.
The Republican Study Committee, led by Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, is proposing to replace President Obama's healthcare law with a system where people can get tax deductions to help buy coverage on their own instead of through an employer.
The plan, dubbed The American Health Care Reform Act, closely mirrors one the RSC already proposed back in June 2015, long before the prospect of repealing big parts of the law materialized with President-elect Donald Trump's victory. It also calls for block-granting Medicaid, expanding the use of health savings accounts and allowing insurance to be sold across state lines.
Walker, along with former RSC Chairman Bill Flores and Rep. Phil Roe, sponsor of the legislation, will introduce the bill Wednesday afternoon. The rollout comes on the heels of a morning meeting between Vice President-elect Mike Pence and House Republicans on their approach to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
It's also part of an effort by Walker to make the committee relevant again. The RSC been viewed as having less clout, after some of its most conservative members spun off and created the Freedom Caucus two years ago.
"Part of what Rep. Walker wants to bring to the RSC is a new voice and and an emphasis on the approach," said Walker spokesman Scott Luginbill. "The RSC's policy has always been strong, but Chairman Walker means to shake things up a bit."
Yet the RSC plan departs in some significant ways from the "Better Way" health reform proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
While the Ryan-backed plan would provide people with credits to buy coverage, the RSC plan would assist Americans less directly by reducing their taxable income if they buy a qualified health plan.
It would eliminate the tax break for employer-sponsored coverage and replace it with a standard tax deduction for people to buy coverage on their own. The deduction would reduce taxable income by $7,500 for individuals and by $20,500 for married couples.
It's an even more conservative approach to health reform than Ryan's plan. While the RSC plan would likely cost less, it would also leave more people without health coverage.
Critics have noted that the tax deduction would provide little to no assistance for low income Americans who don't pay any income taxes. A single poor adult earning $10,000 would get no income tax benefit and a payroll tax benefit of about $574 a year, far lower than the annual cost of most health plans, according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
But the RSC and Ryan plans do share some commonalities. Both would provide coverage for people with preexisting conditions by giving states funding to set up high risk pools. The RSC plan calls for states to get $25 billion over a decade, towards that end.
The caucus is proposing to pay for its plan by lowering caps on non-defense discretionary spending by 1.5 percent for fiscal years 2018 to 2021.
It calls for all of the Affordable Care Act to be repealed starting on Jan. 1, 2018, even though there's wide agreement that Republicans likely won't be able to ditch all of the law due to opposition by Senate Democrats.