What the Republicans are offering

I watched with interest last night as Republican lawmakers held up pieces of paper during the President’s Address to the Congress. While it was disrespectful, but nowhere near as disrespectful as a SC Congressman who yelled out, “You lie!” during the speech, I will not dwell on that.

I was curious to see what it was these people were waving around, so I googled and came up with this:

http://camp.house.gov/UploadedFiles/House_GOP_Solutions_Group_Outline_Health_Care_Plan.pdf

“The health care reforms outlined are designed to:

“1. Make quality health care coverage affordable and accessible for every American, regardless of preexisting health conditions.

“2. Protect Americans from being forced into a new government-run health care plan that would: a) eliminate the health care coverage that more than 100 million Americans currently receive through their job; b) limit your choice of doctors and medical treatment options; and c) result in the federal government taking control of your health care.

“3. Let Americans who like their health care coverage keep it, and give all Americans the freedom to choose the health plan that best meets their needs.

“4. Ensure that medical decisions are made by patients and their doctors, not government bureaucrats.

“5. Improve Americans’ lives through effective prevention, wellness, and disease management programs, while developing new treatments and cures for life-threatening diseases.”

Let’s examine each of these.

1. Make health care affordable and accessible. Can’t see how this differs from what Obama and the Democrats are offering.

2. Protect Americans in their present health plans. Prevent limitation of choice. Keep the Government from taking control of health care. This is exactly what the democrats say they are doing.

3. Keep your health care plan. This is just the second part of 2 above. And the Democrats have promised over and over again that if you like your plan you can keep it. They will, however, require that the plans offered meet certain criteria, the main ones being permanence and the elimination of restrictions on pre-existing condition coverage.

4. No bureaucratic involvement in health care decisions. Yet again, this is what the Democrats offer.

5. Wellness plans, prevention, etc. This looks just like the Democrats’ plan.

So far it seems like there is no bone of contention.

The rest of the url above deals with some of the details.

Making health care affordable.

The Republican plan would:

1. Extend tax savings for people who don’t have employer-sponsored plans by letting them take tax deductions (apparently without regard to the current 7.5% floor.)
2. Provide new refundable and advanceable tax credits to low and modest income families.
3. Increase support for pre-and early-retirees with low and modest incomes.
4. Allow organizations to band together to offer health insurance at lower costs.
5. Limit malpractice recoveries to lower doctors’ costs.
6. Additional authority and resources to stop Medicare and Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse.
7. Improve medical savings accounts.
8. Provide financial help to caregivers who provide in-home care for a loved one.

My thoughts:

1. Increased tax deductions are nice, but they certainly won’t help the people at the low end because they aren’t paying much in the way of taxes anyway.
2. This is exactly what the Democratic plan offers, except for the word refundable. Does that mean that somewhere down the road the Government can ask for a refund? Hey, that sounds like good security (not).
3. Not very specific here. But how does this differ from the tax credits in the Democratic plan?
4. Gosh, that sounds familiar. Oh, wait. The Dems already offered that.
5. Malpractice reform is not a bad idea, but if Texas is any example it is not going to lower health insurance premiums. For those of you who don’t know it, Texas insurance costs went up about 40 percent (higher than almost all other states) after tort reform became law.
6. Why tie this into a health care bill. Do it NOW.
7. Not very specific, is it? Need to have a lot more information before making a comment.
8. Again, not very specific.

Next, the cited url sets forth the Republican plan to “make health care more available and accessible for all Americans.

1. Increase portability of coverage.
2. “Encourage” States to create a Universal Access Program to guarantee access to affordable coverage without regard to pre-existing conditions.
3. Strengthen employer-provided coverage by encouraging employers to move to opt-out rather than opt-in coverage. This will “help” 10 million uninsured Americans who are eligible not not enrolled in an employer plan.
4. Help small employers with their admin costs through a small business tax credit.
5. Since not all younger workers are able to find a job with health benefits attached allow dependents to remain on their parent’s policies until age 25.
6. Provide flexibility to allow Medicaid and SCHIP beneficiaries to use the value of their benefit packages to buy a health plan rather than use the Government program.

My thoughts:

1. And this differs from the Democratic plan how? Well, it doesn’t.
2. Encouraging states to provide a program similar to the WSHIP plan in the State of Washington. Encourage? Hey, state legislature, we encourage you. Nope. This is a national problem, let’s provide a national solution. If the states want to offer a plan in competition with the national and private plans, feel free. May the lowest cost highest service plan win.
3. What this means is that where an employer has a plan where the employee must elect enrollment the Government will encourage the employer to change the plan so that the employee has to elect to drop out. Wow! What a wonderful idea. How the heck is that going to help the target customer?
4. Help with admin costs? That’s a crock. They need help with the premiums. Once the employer has a plan in place all she has to do is deduct the premiums, add whatever employer contribution is agreed upon, if any, and mail the check off. What are we going to do, pay for the stamp? Admin costs are not a big player here.
5. Hmmm. Wonder why they used the word dependent. Could it possibly be that they are only going to allow the inclusion if the offspring is a dependent for tax purposes. Yet target younger employees. A person who has a paying job is generally not eligible to be a dependent for tax purposes.
6. Not sure what to make of this one. My gut feeling is that this is just a bone thrown to the health insurance industry to allow them to skim off the well clients and leave the others to the Government programs, but I only suggest that out of my latent cynicism.

The third part of the url deals with promoting healthy living and quality care.

The only comment I am going to make is about this sentence:

“It’s no secret that patients of other countries are often denied care or die waiting to get access to the top treatments.

FEAR!!! FEAR!!! Play the fear card! If it worked for the Patriot Act it’ll work here!

It’s no secret that this sentence is a bald-faced lie, at least when applied to places such as the UK, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Germany. But perhaps not a lie when applied to places like the Sudan, but their problems are a heck of a lot deeper than that. The Republicans should be, but are undoubtedly not ashamed of themselves for including this vile canard.

3 Responses to "What the Republicans are offering"

  1. E3GreenMarine  September 19, 2009 at 10:14 am

    just another attempt to take the credit for a Democratic idea to further their ambition. They would be able to say they passed health reform.

  2. almandine  September 19, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    so they offer a plan to take credit of Dem initiatives… on other CHB posts they’ve never offered a single alternative.

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, eh?

  3. Naturalist  September 20, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    You will have GREAT health care when the politicians and everyone else must use the same system. Then and only then will they make sure it’s great. Boggles my mind.

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