The GOP is completely botching the rollout of its health care plan
House Republicans unveiled their Affordable Care Act repeal bill Monday night, a long-awaited plan the GOP has promised since the ACA was first passed in 2010.
But the party is already botching the rollout, with confusion about everything from who the plan would impact, how much it would add to the federal deficit and even whether this is the GOP's whole plan or if there's more to come.
Even worse for Republicans is that members of their own party — who should be the easiest to convince to support their plan — are already threatening to block the legislation, saying it does not actually repeal the ACA and dubbing it "Obamacare 2.0" and "Obamacare Lite."
Attacked by their own
Not even 24 hours after the release of the bill, Republicans have already started to revolt.
Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers, slammed the bill, telling the Washington Post that the group will pressure Republicans to pass a full repeal "both in Washington in a very vocal way" and "also back home in their districts."
The Heritage Foundation, a think tank that sides with the most conservative wing of the Republican Party, came out with a statement railing against the bill.
"Many Americans seeking health insurance on the individual market will notice no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act," Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham said in a statement. "That is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy."
The bill was even attacked on Fox News — the place Republicans go to sell plans to their base — with Trump-supporting media personality Laura Ingraham saying none of Trump's health care promises are in the bill, including allowing for the sale of health care across state lines.
Ingraham's comments clearly caught Trump's eye, as he responded with a tweet to Fox & Friends, the show Ingraham appeared on, saying "Don't worry, getting rid of state lines, which will promote competition, will be in phase 2 & 3 of healthcare rollout."
No clear answers
While the GOP has railed against Democrats for years for passing Obamacare without knowing all of its impacts, House Republicans released their bill without knowing how many people could stand to lose their coverage under the plan, nor how it would impact the federal deficit.
Republican legislators pointed that out, including Sen. Mike Lee, a conservative GOP lawmaker from Utah, who said in a statement the plan amounted to "exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for."
Multiple news outlets also published conflicting reports about whether "essential health benefits" like maternity coverage and addiction treatment — which were required under Obamacare — would be preserved in the GOP's plan.
Language in the GOP's plan appears to say those protections will end on Dec. 31, 2019, for Medicaid plans.
The messengers the GOP sent out to answer vital questions were of no help.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney — who will be tasked with writing the president's budget for things like health care spending — dodged questions on NBC's Today about whether people would lose coverage under the GOP plan or how much it would impact the budget.
That information would be announced after a review by the Congressional Budget Office — a federal agency that provides "independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues" such as health care. But the CBO has yet to release their findings.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) used his time on CNN discussing the bill to attack Americans for prioritizing buying iPhones rather than buying health insurance.
And Trump's own comments that more phases to their ACA fix were coming only added to the confusion around the law.
Of course, health care policy is confusing and complicated.
Trump came to that realization late last month — long after folks like former President Barack Obama, who had said for years that health care reform is complicated. But the GOP had no messengers out Tuesday morning to end the confusion about the bill.
Generally, the rollout has left onlookers supremely confused about what's in store for their health care.
Better luck in phase two?