GOP version of reform bill offers tax credits, doesn't require coverage

House Republicans Wednesday unveiled their version of health reform legislation. It offers tax credits to help people buy insurance and doesn't require individuals or businesses to carry coverage, The Associated Press reports. The plan costs $700 billion, less than current Democratic proposals in Congress.

"Some of the ideas in the plan appeal to moderate Democrats, but with Republicans out of power, there's little likelihood their proposal will be enacted. Nonetheless, it will give GOP lawmakers under fire for their opposition to President Barack Obama's plan something positive to point to when they go home for the congressional August break."

Drafted by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a physician, the GOP plan "avoids expanding the federal role in overseeing the health insurance industry. Unlike Democratic proposals, it would not set up new federally regulated purchasing pools for individuals and small businesses. Instead, it would allow individuals to use the Internet to purchase lower-cost coverage available anywhere in the country. That idea won't please insurance commissioners from states with strong consumer protections, who have argued it will set off a 'race to the bottom' that undermines coverage for those in frail health."

The bill would also set up high-risk pools for people with medical problems who are denied coverage by commercial insurers and would allow employers to automatically enroll employees in company coverage. It also limits medical malpractice awards in jury trials and would give doctors power to ignore recommendations from a new federal board tasked with comparing "new treatments, tests and medications," the AP reports.

The GOP measure takes on medical malpractice and creates special health courts for cases involving medical negligence. In addition, their draft includes a Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, but its recommendations could not be enacted without the approval of the medical specialty society that would be affected.

"Republicans say their plan is fully paid for, but it hasn't been assessed yet by the Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper for the costs of legislation" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 7/29).

CBS News: "According to the (bill's) summary, the bill aims to make health care accessible to all Americans by creating tax incentives for consumers to purchase insurance on the individual market, encouraging states to assist consumers with pre-existing conditions, and promoting the employer-based insurance system that is popular with many Americans."

"Republican and Democratic ideas about health care reform perhaps differ most substantially on the issue of cost containment. Most of the reforms proposed in the bill, the summary says, would be paid for by decreasing defensive medicine; savings from health care efficiencies; reducing waste, fraud and abuse; and an annual one-percent non-defense discretionary spending step down" (Condon, 7/29).

In addition to advancing their own measure, House Republicans reacted to developments on the Democratic side. According to The Hill, "House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicts that unless Democrats have a vote in the House before recess on their healthcare reform bill, it will get 'shredded' when their members hear from constituents angry over the president's healthcare overhaul. … For his part, Boehner hopes 'that this healthcare bill will be scrapped' so that lawmakers can return after recess and 'work together' on a bipartisan solution" (Hooper, 7/29).

The GOP also criticized the Democrat's House bill for having loopholes that could benefit illegal immigrants, CongressDaily reports. "'The proposed healthcare scheme could force the American people to pay for the health care of illegal immigrants,' said House Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith. 'This is another reason to oppose it.' House Speaker Pelosi disputed the notion that those in the country illegally could get coverage under the bill. 'Illegal immigrants are not covered by this plan,' she said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. Indeed, Section 246 of the bill expressly states: 'Nothing in this subtitle shall allow federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.'  But Republicans complain the bill does not include a specific requirement that a person prove his or her citizenship in order to obtain affordability credits" (Strohm, 7/28).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for Kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Brittanicus Brittanicus United States says:

    As our rights are infringed upon by our own government, so Americans and those here legally will never benefit from a decent health care plan, owing to the abomination called ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. By an Act in United States Congress passed in 1986, Hospital and ambulance services must provide care to anyone needing emergency treatment in spite of citizenship, legal status or capacity to pay. The predicament being that 20 million plus illegal immigrant families are using this law, for even minor ailments such as the common cold. Why should foreign nationals sign up for health care or anything, when they can get Taxpayers to pay for it all..?
    But this is not just an American dilemma, as it has been forcibly imposed on subjects of the European Union. This is causing a major derailment in the EU, because both legal and illegal entrants are stealing away the single payer medical care providers, to the citizens who have paid into the system from the time they first started work.

    A decent controlled governmental health care benefit, can—NEVER--be established,   when a startling report disclosed the details of a cloaked meeting between nationwide businesses and open-borders groups working under the radical cover of the IMMIGRATIONWORKSUSA a lobbying group. The secret Capitol Hill National Summit" took place last month and revealed the sinister intention behind the lobbying entities efforts.
    Tamar Jacoby, who runs ImmigrationWorksUSA, kicked off the conference by stating the true aspiration of the coalition. The basic target is to promote THE FREE FLOW OF LABOR INTO THE USA, with—AS ALWAYS-- the taxpayer being the beneficiary for corporate welfare. They want expedited cheap labor, where no American worker—NEED APPLY!

    WE MUST ACT NOW, OR IT WILL BE TOO LATE! These special interest lobbyists are well furnished with money from corporate America. We must empower mandated E-Verify as part of the Save Act, where everybody is screened in the workplace. Call your lawmaker TODAY! at 202-224-3121   I Want a health care system--even government run. BUT IT"S SURE TO FAIL, IF TAXES ARE BEING EXTORTED TO PAY FOR FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS?

    Millions of phone calls from angry Americans are jamming the Washington Switchboards.  It is making these pandering politicians to corporate welfare, very anxious. Support for the bi-partisan E-VERIFY PART OF THE SAVE Act, which will expand E-Verify and protect American Workers!  We must focus on the monolithic problem in terminating illegal immigrants-and the jobs that attract illegal aliens. WE WILL ALWAYS BE PAYING FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS, UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING NOW? Many GOP members are against a Path to citizenship for lawbreakers, so we mostly need the phones ringing in the ears of Democrats, who see  the millions of illegal aliens as a positive voting block. WE MUST STOP IT NOW OF SUFFER FROM IRREVERSIBLE POPULATION GROWTH.

    DEMAND NO AMNESTY! NO FAMILY UNIFICATION KNOWN AS CHAIN MIGRATION! BUILD THE ORIGINAL FENCE!  NO MORE HEALTH CARE OR ANY OTHER KIND OF BENEFITS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. CLOSE THE BORDER AND STATION THE NATIONAL GUARD. $2.5 TRILLION DOLLARS, JUST IN RETIREMENT BENEFITS?  Learn uncorrupted facts at NUMBERSUSA.

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