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House GOP Outlines Health Care Plan

By Ben Pershing
House Republicans today outlined their own blueprint for health care reform, pledging -- with few specifics -- a better, cheaper alternative to the plans being hatched by President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Members of the GOP leadership and the party's "Health Care Solutions Group" held a press conference this morning to unveil their proposal, which would rely heavily on tax credits and reform of entitlement programs to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. Most importantly, Republicans emphasized, their plan would not include the public insurance option that most Democratic proposals do.

"We believe that if there's a government competitor, you will not be able to keep what [insurance] you have," said Rep. Roy Blunt (Mo.), who is leading the House GOP's health care effort. Blunt predicted that "the government will not compete fairly" in the insurance market and would thus drive private insurers out of business.

Instead, Republicans would provide people who don't have insurance from their employers with a tax deduction equal to the cost of their premiums, so they could buy the insurance themselves. The GOP blueprint also call for employees of small businesses to band together to buy insurance through "association health plans," which former president George W. Bush advocated during his term in office. And Republicans would implement medical malpractice reform, a topic that was a point of contention during Obama's address this week to the American Medical Association.

The minority's plan includes dozens of other elements, all designed to increase efficiency in the health care system "within the existing market structure," explained Rep. Joe Barton (Texas), without creating a "new federal bureaucracy." But Republicans today were unable to say how much their plan would cost, how they would pay for it or how many people it would insure.

"I guarantee that we will bring you a bill that will cost far less" than the final Democratic plan, Blunt said, but neither he nor his colleagues would provide even a ballpark estimate of their plan's price tag.

Senate Democrats have had at least two health care proposals scored by the Congressional Budget Office but House Democrats haven't had theirs scored yet, so House Republicans say they will wait for the chamber's majority to get its still-unwritten legislation priced before they go to CBO with their own plan.

Republicans made a point of saying that their plan was designed to give every American "access to insurance," but would not set a benchmark for how many people actually would be insured. As for whether the GOP will use tax increases to pay for their bill, Blunt said specifically that taxing employer health benefits is "certainly not part of our plan." But he would not make any promises beyond that.

Barton, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said he would offer a full-fledged GOP alternative when the panel meets to mark up the majority's health care bill. The markup has not yet been scheduled.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 17, 2009; 12:48 PM ET
Categories:  GOP Leaders , Health Reform  
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Next: Ensign Steps Down from GOP Leadership Post


Great! And if they had proposed this 4 years ago, when they controlled both the Whitehouse and Congress, it probably could have passed.
It seems that the GOP performs so much better when they are the minority party.

Posted by: Smoke_Jaguar4 | June 17, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Today, insurance companies have too much power, and a very sweet deal.
Insurance companies can pick and choose who they will insure, denying coverage to anyone with a pre existent condition, dropping patients when they develop a condition that requires an expensive treatment and using tactics as consistently denying or delaying treatment in the hopes the insured will give up or perhaps die before the approval thus saving them money.
So today, insurance companies collect premiums for years and years and when their client gets sick the client is either dropped immediately, or dropped when the person eventually looses their insurance when he/she becomes too sick to work and consequently looses coverage.
Who then pays the bill? MEDICAID. So insurance companies have the greatest deal. Collect money and don’t have expenses since most medical care will be paid either by the insurer in the form of a deductible or by Medicaid/ medicare when the condition became serious and expensive.
We already have a government plan, it is the one YOU may be using if you became sick and your insurance either drops you or is discontinued because you are to sick to work.
The only difference is that since we are already paying for the expenses maybe we should collect the premiums as well collect the premiums as well. Today’s insurance companies are a cartel, a little competition may make them honest.

Posted by: socialawareness | June 17, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight - the GOP is proposing a tax credit for people who may have difficulty affording health insurance, that will be applied at the end of the year (income tax time), when they were unable to purchase the insurance because they cannot afford it? I guess I'm just too dense to understand the benefit...

Posted by: mriles | June 17, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"Instead, Republicans would provide people who don't have insurance from their employers with a tax deduction equal to the cost of their premiums,"

My insurance costs the City of Dayton something like $480 per month, so nearly $6,000 per year. I only pay about $2500 in taxes, (Actually much less because my wife is blind) EVEN if I got a full tax CREDIT I would still need to kick in $35000 to pay my own insurance.

This isn't actually a health care plan, it isn't new, and it isn't credible.

It is Republican hot air and even they know it.

But they get to claim that they have produced an alternative plan and that is actually all they wanted.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 17, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I took a look at the link to the Republican "plan." There's not a single specific in it-- it's just over 3 pages long.

In other words, useless.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | June 18, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"Instead, Republicans would provide people who don't have insurance from their employers with a tax deduction equal to the cost of their premiums, so they could buy the insurance themselves"

Now there is one of the stupidest ideas in history!

97% of the uninsured have incomes that are less than 400% of Federal Poverty Level for a household of their size.

90% of the uninsured have household incomes of LESS than 300% Federal Poverty level.

They DO NOT MAKE enough to pay the kind of taxes where a 'deduction' would be enough to cover the cost of non-group premiums. These days a non-group individual policy averages $4800 with a $2000 deductible and a non-group family is in excess of $13000 with a $4000+ deductible.

How in blazes is an individual making around $32,000 or a couple making $42,000 or a family of 3 with $49,000 supposed to have enough tax liability that a 'deduction' will cover that $6800 or $17000 a year?

A 'deduction' is not the same as a tax credit or a refundable tax credit. A deduction is only worth a portion of the tax liability. If you are in the 15% bracket and have a $10,000 deduction, that only reduces the tax liability by $1500.

Where is the other $5300 - $15500 supposed to come from to PAY for the coverage?

The Republicans are truly clueless when it comes to the real world.

Posted by: eabpmn | June 18, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

i can not wait untill you liberal hypnobamatized people get your government run healthcare in place,and watch as people you love are being denied treatment because it isnt cost effective. canada went down this road,and the brittish have warned us against it.and when you are the one on your deathbed,and wondering what happened,just remember,be carefull what you wish for.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 20, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

by the way,republicans should stay away from govt run healthcare,and when it gets passed anyhow,they will be able to defeat the democrats in every election for many years. even the democrats will be crying,and not voting for the people who passed the death warrants of a lot of americans.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 21, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

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