Would The President Consider A GOP Alternative To Save Obamacare?
January 28, 2014 by Sam Rolley
In response to opposition to the Affordable Care Act from Congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama has repeatedly charged that the GOP wantonly criticizes his plan without offering a better alternative. The President may now have to eat his words, as a group of GOP lawmakers just released what Forbes is calling the most thoughtful and constructive conservative alternative to Obamacare presented to date.
Over the summer, when a GOP push to repeal the President’s healthcare plan still had healthy support, Obama said: “[Republicans] used to say, ‘Well, we’re going to replace it with something better.’ There’s not even a pretense now that they’re going to replace it with something better.”
“I’ve been hearing about this whole replacement thing for two years,” he said. “Now I just don’t hear about it because basically they don’t have an agenda to provide health insurance to people at affordable rates.”
The conservative plan, authored by Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is called the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment (CARE) Act.
The lawmakers’ proposal retains a handful of popular provisions from Obamacare, like prohibiting insurance companies from imposing lifetime limits on healthcare benefits or discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.
“Before ObamaCare, if an individual tried to buy health coverage on their own, it was not only expensive, they could be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition,” the Senators relayed in an op-ed for FOX.
“Our proposal would change that by repealing ObamaCare, and replacing it with a new ‘continuous coverage’ consumer protection. Under our proposal, individuals moving from any health plan to another could not be medically unwritten and denied a plan based on a pre-existing condition.”
The GOP proposal would also allow young Americans under the age of 27 to continue using their parents’ insurance plans.
While keeping parts of Obamacare that many Amercans support, the legislation aims to eliminate provisions in in the President’s law that have drawn criticism from conservatives. CARE would scrap insurance mandates that have created headaches for American small-business owners and give States more power over healthcare for residents.
The GOP lawmakers say that their proposal would also:
- Allow small businesses to band together for coverage in a similar manner as corporations to negotiate for cheaper health coverage.
- Offer individuals who are uninsured, self-employed or working at a small business a tax credit for health coverage.
- Reform — but not expand — the Medicaid entitlement.
Hatch, Coburn and Burr said that there is still conservative support for simply allowing the President’s healthcare plan to fall apart on its own. But the Senators warn that conservative inaction could result in an even more government-centric approach to healthcare following an Obamacare implosion.
“Some may suggest the smart political move is to not present an alternative but to simply stand back and watch ObamaCare implode,” they said in their op-ed. “But the failure of ObamaCare will not guarantee the success of free market health reform. In fact, even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the president have suggested the law is merely a stalking horse for government-run single-payer health care.”
Instead, they contend that CARE stands as a compromise between free-market healthcare and aid for Americans who can’t afford coverage.
“Unlike ObamaCare, our plan acknowledges the real world in which people live and operate. We understand that markets are not perfect,” the Senators wrote. “But the answer is not a government-centered approach that limits choices and increases costs.”