EXCLUSIVE  — House conservatives have opened a new front in the battle against Democrats’ sweeping Build Back Better Act, warning the massive spending bill will give the federal government ominous new control of personal healthcare decisions.

President Joe Biden's signature plan already faces headwinds in the Senate, where centrist Democrats are spooked about the impact of the multitrillion-dollar cost amid rising inflation. The new line of attack could further sour voters on the scope of the plan, which has already passed in the House.

“It’s a direct assault on the very health and well-being of the American people,” said Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks in a memo that will be sent to its members on Tuesday, first shared with the Washington Examiner. “The bill expands the government’s role in every aspect of the American healthcare system and is designed to insert the federal government into as many personal health care decisions as possible.”

Republicans unanimously oppose the bill, which is still under negotiation in the Senate but will likely include an extension of the expanded child tax credit, tax credits for clean energy to combat climate change, expansion of Medicare benefits, and expansion of Affordable Care Act subsidies.

But so far, Republicans have mostly argued the bill would exacerbate inflation, implement socialist policies, add to the national debt, and raise taxes.


The memo on "wrecking American health care" from Banks, an Indiana Republican, may add to Republicans’ arsenal of attacks against the bill. He argues it would “subsidize the rich while giving everyday Americans worse health care options,” make Medicare “less competitive for seniors,” and lead to “fewer cures, fewer choices, and a sicker American public.”

It cites an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that the provisions would remove around 2 million people from their employer-sponsored healthcare plans, though it is estimated to increase the number of insured people overall. It also cites a provision that analysts say means some high-income families could get free Obamacare subsidies intended for low-income people if the head of household experienced even short-term unemployment.

The memo also argues the bill would “unnecessarily” spend $40 billion to expand traditional Medicare to cover hearing benefits, saying 93% of Medicare Advantage plans already cover them. It also takes aim at the provision to let Medicare negotiate drug prices, a provision opposed by the pharmaceutical industry.

“Negotiation is just a euphemism for fewer cures, fewer choices, and a sicker American public,” the memo says. “Price controls have been shown to kill innovation, and these policies will prevent up to 100 new cures from being brought to the American people.”

Memos from Banks and the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House, have become drivers of Republican talking points against the Build Back Better bill and other Democratic policies and legislation this year.

If this memo does the same, turning focus to healthcare would mark a notable shift for Republicans, who have largely avoided focusing on healthcare after they failed to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” under former President Donald Trump in 2017. Over the following years, Trump repeatedly promised to unveil a new healthcare plan but instead pointed to adjustments to Obamacare.

Banks has long argued Republicans “can’t shy away” from the issue despite the 2017 blunder.


The CBO last week estimated the climate and social spending bill would increase federal deficits by $3 trillion over the next decade if temporary provisions are made permanent.

House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he aims to pass the bill in the Senate by Christmas. However, hesitation from conservative West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin could push any movement to after the new year.