August 19, 2015

THE HILL: Walker shakes up GOP field with plan to replace ObamaCare.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is jump-starting a debate on ObamaCare with the hope of getting out in front of his GOP rivals on one of the party’s toughest topics.

Walker on Tuesday became the first leading presidential candidate to put forward a detailed replacement plan for the healthcare reform law, a move that will put pressure on his rivals to release their own plans. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who has trailed in the polls, is the only other candidate with a full plan, which focuses on grants to states.

The move could give Walker an edge with conservative voters in Iowa, where he needs a strong result in February’s caucus votes to solidify his campaign. A few weeks ago, Walker polled as the favorite in Iowa, but his lead in polls has evaporated as Donald Trump pulls ahead.

“Certainly, any time a presidential candidate comes out with a real plan, it creates pressure on other campaigns to do the same. And that is a very good thing,” said Dan Holler, communications director for the conservative group Heritage Action.

Repealing ObamaCare remains a top priority for grassroots conservatives. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) released the outline of a three-point plan but has not provided details. Other candidates have not yet made clear their positions on healthcare policy.

The GOP field reacted to Walker’s proposal cautiously, with only Jindal offering a statement.

He blasted Walker’s proposal, arguing that he is merely setting up a new entitlement program to replace ObamaCare.

Well, at least they’re arguing policy.

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