Skip to comments.GOP senators push ObamaCare alternative that scraps mandates
Posted on 01/28/2014 12:02:51 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Three senior Senate Republicans on Monday proposed an alternative to ObamaCare that would replace job-crushing federal mandates with a voluntary system led by the states.
The legislative blueprint from Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) would eliminate all of the healthcare laws federal rules, including the unpopular requirement to purchase insurance under the threat of penalty.
But the GOP proposal, known as the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment (CARE) Act, would also weaken one of ObamaCares most popular provisions, by giving insurers an opening to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
The CARE Act would require insurers to offer policies to anyone who has proof of continuous coverage, along with protections for those who lose their health plans for any reason. But those with pre-existing conditions who fail to maintain continuous coverage at any time could be denied coverage.
The Republican senators said the proposal was only a first step toward finding a way out of what they deem a disastrous federal system.
Our health care system wasnt working well before ObamaCare and it is worse after Obama-Care, Coburn said in a statement. Americans deserve a real alternative, and a way out. Im pleased to take this important step with my colleagues.
The senators said they plan to work with their colleagues and health industry experts to further refine the proposal, with the goal of building consensus and introducing legislation.
As it now stands, the GOP proposal leaves only a handful of the Affordable Care Acts most popular provisions intact.
It would prohibit insurance companies from imposing lifetime limits on the benefits that a consumer receives and, like ObamaCare, would require pricing transparency from hospitals and insurers.
The plan would also continue to allow dependents to stay on their parents insurance coverage until they are the age of 26, but in a departure from President Obamas overhaul, that requirement and others like it would be voluntary for states.
And while the Republican alternative offers a host of tax credits and subsidies, they are scaled back considerably from the financial aid available under the healthcare law.
They tried to keep a flavor of the most popular parts of ObamaCare in the proposal, but it really demonstrates how hard it is to pull the pieces out and still have something that holds together, Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow at The Urban Institutes Health Policy Center, told The Hill.
Liberal groups attacked the GOP blueprint and decried the plan to scale back the rules for people with pre-existing conditions.
Making it legal again for big insurance to discriminate against and deny coverage to 89 million Americans with pre-existing conditions is not an alternative its a joke, Americans United for Change said in a statement. A sick one at that.
The release of the bill reflects a larger election-year shift for Republicans, who had long been focused on a repeal and replace mantra for ObamaCare that was light on specifics.
Now that the Affordable Care Act is in effect, Republicans are focused on showing voters that they have a viable plan for helping people obtain insurance coverage if they manage to win back Congress and the White House.
The Republican Study Committee is pushing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to embrace an ObamaCare alternative that they released year, and a handful of other reform proposals have been offered up by Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Tom Price (R-Ga.), among others.
A vote in the House on an ObamaCare replacement bill could help GOP lawmakers on the campaign trail by shielding them from Democratic attacks that they dont have a plan to help the uninsured.
But the Senate proposal also highlights the turmoil that would result from a new healthcare overhaul, now that 3 million people have signed up for ObamaCare and millions more have obtained coverage through Medicaid.
The CARE Act would reform, but not expand, Medicaid, forcing an untold number of people back into the private markets. The reforms would give states more flexibility on how to run the entitlement program, and would allow beneficiaries the option to use a tax credit to instead buy coverage in the private market.
Aides said they didnt expect Obama to sign such a bill into law, even if Republicans control the House and Senate in 2014. But they said the public appetite for an ObamaCare alternative is bound to grow over time.
The bill is a stepping stone for a legislative vehicle, GOP aides said, and one that the senators hope will be improved by suggestions from other Republican senators.
The CARE Act includes many reforms that have long been popular in conservative circles, such as medical malpractice reform aimed at addressing junk lawsuits and defensive medicine and an expansion of tax-free health savings accounts.
It addresses the tax advantage those who obtain coverage through their employer have over those who purchase through the private market. The employer tax exclusion one of the largest expenditures in the tax code would be reduced to 65 percent of the average cost of a plan.
The federal savings from that cap would be used to offer tax credits to individuals with annual incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, and to offer targeted tax incentives for those who dont receive employer-sponsored plans.
Blumberg told The Hill the employer tax exclusion reform is one of the most disruptive aspects of the proposal.
I could get behind this act, as a stepping stone back to an actual free market in health insurance and health care, but a GOP nanny state is still a nanny state.
Nanny State PING!
No “alternatives” other than going back to the status quo ( pre-Obama).
Insurance shouldn’t cover preexisting conditions. If it did, its not insurance but Welfare. Imagine if insurance cover car/house insurance after it burn down
He doesn't want health care for all. He doesn't want it to be cheap. He means to have the system crushed and will brook no dissent or interference in achieving that goal.
The sooner the dunderheads in the GOP realize this the sooner a real fight can begin. They are all walking around like little Neville Chamberlain-bots.
If nanny state light is what will happen, then let’s just go back to what we had before. It was the best health care in the world.
To take care of the uninsured sick, we have a nation in which every county has at least one county health clinic. Add a PA or Nurse Practitioner to each whose numbers jump, and tell the uninsured that the clinic will always be their first stop before going to the local hospital with an authorization for payment from the clinic to the Fed. This would, of course, include pre-existing conditions.
And, of course, allow insurance to be bought across state lines. Initiate tort reform regarding medical care.
How do you deal with the free-rider problem?
You know, I have heard a fair number of conservative and libertarian doctors say they would be ok with a single payer health care system at least temporarily - if only so that health care customers can actually see it laid out for them what they are paying for under a fed run system and can finally understand conceptually that making health care “affordable” for everyone really does mean they foot the bill for everyone else’s poor life choices.
Put everything back. Implement tort reform (lower insurance costs to doctors means lower costs to patients) and allow competition across state lines will mean lower prices.
From there you ca. Take the savings and put a plan in place for Medicaid and Medicare.
Really? There are no "county health clinics" anywhere near me. Counties around here and in adjacent states aren't involved in anything like that.
Yes, that idea may be helpful to people in that manner, but the closest thing to eternity on this earth is a government program, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan.
I’m for the Care Responsibility Action Program.
What state you from?
(I didn't quote the "burning house" part because it has become an annoying cliché).
Maybe insurance shouldn't cover pre-existing conditions but why should a pre-existing condition prevent a person from obtaining health insurance for unrelated medical problems, which was the previous system? Why not just exclude the pre-existing condition?
Not so sure this is a good idea, but if they want to sell it, these old duffers really ought to give the thing a NAME other than the “Old Republicans’ Thing.”.
It’s in the very FIRST week of Marketing 101.
As usual, when it comes to communicating, Republicans are complete morons.
Yes, I'm, aware they're calling it the CARE Act, but when these three old guys were interviewed at length about it, they referred to it , EXCLUSIVELY, as "Our Plan."
County public health departments in the northwest send inspectors out to check restaurant and grocery sanitation — code enforcement — and the department does emergency planning and education, and employs the coroner, but does not see patients at any facility. Even phased out flu vaccinations several years ago. WIC has been integrated with private health clinics although funded partly by the county.
Agreed.... A GOP alternative is still Gov controlled health care... No start overs... REPEAL IT!
“But the GOP proposal, known as the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment (CARE) Act, would also weaken one of ObamaCares most popular provisions, by giving insurers an opening to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.”
No spin there. Or at least no understanding of what insurance is supposed to do.
Obama will reject it anyway so there is no point complaining about it.
Now that people are actually covered by Obamacare its more difficult for the elected to just take it away and say ‘Good luck’
yeah ... that’s it ... lets fix it ...
After repeal, who has insurance and who does not?
The blunt truth is that there can be no system that requires insurers to insure pre-existing conditions that does not involve some type of broad based (read: taxpayer) subsidy. Insurers are private businesses. The only way to make money is to cover unknown catastrophic risks, not catastrophic risks that are likely to happen.
As conservative as I am, I might be willing to support some level of taxation for a limited category truly catastrophic pre-existing conditions; provided that the individual has a co-pay that is meaningful. The alternative is to bankrupt these people.
It doesn't prevent the person from obtaining health insurance. It imposes a waiting period for claims against that condition. The waiting period can vary from policy to policy. Claims for diagnoses unrelated to the preexisting condition are covered.
Working hard with “propaganda=industry”. “Insurance” is NOT industry.
And “insurance” is a collective communism. And they’re working REAL HARD with their installed fascists = Repulico-Extorters, that represent them and not the people. And this is a set up for full blown Romney-ExtortionCare, with forced letters of compliance from the communist insurance at the state level. The mandate will come from the state of residence. Decievers.
Steal and invest, steal and invest.
I was referring to pre-Obamacare regulations.
In numerous states no legislation existed to force insurers to accept applicants with pre-existing conditions, waiting period or not, and they didn’t.
Over the years I have corresponded with any number of individuals who could not purchase health insurance at any price, to cover any condition, because of pre-existing conditions.
My own state, Washington, had a nine-month waiting period but even then, insurers could reject an applicant and send him to the state high-risk pool (which was sometimes not accepting new individuals).
I worked for BC/BS for 15 years in the east, in the 80s & 90s. We had policies with waiting periods available to anyone. It depends on the state insurance regulators.
Tort reform is already in place in most states; what's that done to reduce premiums on health insurance?
And those of us who get their insurance through their employer? We're going to see our taxes go up because we're going to see 35% of our premium added to our taxable income. So I'll be taxed to provide insurance for others. And when they find out that 35% isn't enough then what? How high will you go?
Back to the drawing board, guys. If this is the best you've got then I have to say that Obamacare impacts me less.
Obamacare without mandates is still Obamacare.
How about scrap all of it?
It doesn’t repeal or reform... pre-existing conditions remain ,community ratings remain, tax credits still given to corporations for health insurance (instead of to the individials-no portability )
what a joke.