Senate Republicans are coming closer to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with… Obamacare?

Senate Republicans are coming closer to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with… Obamacare?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Source: J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Source: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Senate Republicans, currently seeking to revive their embattled health care bill, are mulling over changes that would make their legislation look more and more like the Affordable Care Act.

On Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters on Capitol Hill that the Republican health care bill will leave in place a tax on the wealthy that was created by the ACA — better known as Obamacare.

The revenue from that tax would go towards subsidizing health insurance for the poor, Corker said.

This is exactly what the ACA currently does.

The shift to keep that tax on the wealthy to help poor and low-income Americans afford health care is counter to the Republican Party's seven-year assault on the ACA.

"It cannot be fixed," House Speaker Paul Ryan said of the ACA in his "Better Way" health care plan he released in June 2016. "Its knot of regulations, taxes and mandates cannot be untangled. Obamacare must be fully repealed so we can start over and take a new approach."

Of course, it's unclear whether leaving that tax in the bill makes the legislation any easier to pass.

Conservatives — who have already railed against the plan as not going far enough to repeal Obamacare — might not be on board with making the bill even more like Obamacare.

And it's unclear how the current Medicaid cuts in the bill will be changed. The $772 billion cut to Medicaid, which provides insurance to the poorest Americans, has been a repellent for moderate senators such as Susan Collins of Maine and Dean Heller of Nevada.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to have a new draft of the GOP's health care plan by Friday, allowing the Congressional Budget Office to analyze its impacts before the Senate returns to Washington, D.C., from a week-long July 4 recess.

But if current reports are any indication, the text may look more and more like the health care plan the GOP has run against for years.