Republicans eye health plan should court overturn reform
In this election year, House Republicans are working to create a legislative blueprint they can sell to voters after the Supreme Court rules on Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the nation’s most sweeping healthcare legislation since Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s.
A Republican plan would focus on controlling healthcare costs and allowing people to retain coverage while changing jobs. And they will avoid extending coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans. The plan is to prepare for a new administration that comes into office in 2013. Yet if the high court justices struck down the entire law, Republicans could try to salvage some of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions that are already in force and have proved popular with voters.
Representative Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon who heads the House Republican Policy Committee, said stopgap legislation could be crafted for 2012 if the court ended health insurance safeguards for young adults and children with pre-existing medical conditions.
“That would present a significant void and vacuum in health policy,” Price said. “There will be a need to have some things to fill that vacuum.” “When the Supreme Court acts, we will be ready with plans that actually work to lower the cost of care and to help people keep the care they want,” said Republican Senator John Barrasso, another orthopedic-surgeon-turned-legislator who is Price’s policy counterpart in the Senate.
The court’s impending decision, which would land in the middle of the 2012 campaign battle for control the White House and Congress, could strike down all or part of Obama’s reform act, or leave the two-year old package in place. No matter the outcome, the decision is expected to kick off an aggressive new chapter in the election campaign that will spotlight healthcare far more prominently. But no one has said if Republicans have been consulting with candidate Mitt Romney.
Repealing the law alone, isn’t enough. Moffitt and James Capretta of the conservative American Enterprise Institute advocate an approach they say would make consumers more cost-conscious. It would move away from the current tax break for employer-sponsored healthcare, in exchange for fixed tax credits that would help cover the cost of individual plans sold in a competitive marketplace. Consumers would have to bear any cost over the fixed tax credits.
In an article titled “How to Replace Obamacare,” in the current edition of the quarterly journal National Affairs, the two analysts also call for changing existing laws to protect people with pre-existing conditions and adopting policies that would better encourage reform initiatives at the state level.
Some are even calling for reforms that would allow individuals to buy insurance from other states or for letting small businesses, churches and civic organizations form new insurance pools. Also there are proposals that would protect doctors and hospitals from malpractice suits,, along with vouchers for Medicare that would help seniors buy private insurance.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is also showing signs of thinking about what to do if the Supreme Court’s ruling proves unfavorable. References to “a plan” have begun to emerge in recent comments by the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services.
“We will eventually, I’m sure, have a plan. But that really isn’t where all the time and energy is focused right now,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Reuters after a recent speaking engagement.
This entry was posted on Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 8:01 am and is filed under Elections and Campaigns, Finance and Business, General, Health Care, In The Courts, In the News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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