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Walker’s health care plan: Repeal Obamacare, replace it with conservative alternative

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MINNEAPOLIS  — Gov. Scott Walker outlined his plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a series of conservative changes -- including new caps on Medicaid payments to states and individual tax credits -- in a speech in Minnesota on Tuesday, August 18th

"On my first day as President, I will send legislation to the Congress that will repeal Obamacare entirely and replace it in a way that puts patients and their families back in charge of their health care -- not the federal government. I call it the Day One Patient Freedom Plan," Walker will say, according to an excerpt from his speech provided by the campaign.

The Walker proposal, the first major policy rollout from his campaign, calls for "capped allotments" to states for some parts of Medicaid while allowing acute care payments to continue uncapped.

Health care subsidies -- one of the key pieces for helping low- and middle-income residents sign up for health plans through the Obama law -- would be replaced instead with individual tax credits to help people purchase health care. The credits would be available to anyone not covered by their employers and vary only based on age -- not income -- and range between $900 and $3,000.

He also calls for increasing how much can be placed in a health savings account tax-free and eliminating the health plan requirements set in law, returning to the old system of letting state regulators set the guidelines for health plans.

Walker also writes, in his 13-page policy outline, that he would eliminate all taxes associated with the federal Affordable Care Act and pay for his plan's costs through savings made from reforming and streamlining federal government.

"To offset these improvements, we would simplify and reform how the federal government helps people access health insurance," Walker writes in his plan. "We would empower states to run Medicaid in a way that is more effective, efficient, and accountable, and work with Congress to reform the way the tax code treats gold-plated, employer-sponsored health care plans."

"This is what we did in Wisconsin. We rejected the false-choice narrative between raising taxes and austerity, and instead enacted bold reforms," Walker wrote.

The second-term governor would still, however, keep some key (and popular) pieces of President Barack Obama's signature law. People with pre-existing conditions would be covered as long as they maintain continuous coverage. But Walker would leave it to states to decide how long children can stay on their parents' health plans.

Walker's plan has its critics. The Democratic National Committee says the plan immediately throws 19 million Americans off their health insurance -- and allows insurance companies to charge women more than men. Critics also say Walker's plan does not include cost figures or an estimate of the number of people who would be covered.

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