Republicans unsure on how they will change Obamacare

(Reuters)

Republicans are promising to repeal and replace President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul if they win control of Congress. But with what?

Not even they know.

Some have proposed major changes to workplace coverage, even turning Medicare into a voucher plan. Many prefer small steps that tiptoe around political land mines. Others want a clean start.

“During the health care debate there was just as much division within Republicans as there was between the parties,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a leading adviser to 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain.

One of the first acts of a Republican majority would be a vote to repeal what they dismiss as “Obamacare.” But they haven’t said much about what would replace it.

A GOP bill rejected by the Democratic-led House last year is the closest thing to a starting point.

The Republican plan would cover an additional 3 million people by 2019, compared with nearly 33 million under the Obama health care law. It would lower premiums modestly for many small businesses and for people buying insurance directly. It wouldn’t solve the nation’s long-term cost and coverage problems.

“On a scale of 1 to 1,000, it’s about a 5,” scoffs former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a senior Democratic adviser.

Yet some Republican proposals are as far-reaching as anything Democrats have tried. A budget crisis could push them to the forefront because lowering health costs is critical to reducing record federal deficits.

Many of those ideas come from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., one of a group of younger lawmakers trying to energize the party leadership.

Along with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Ryan sponsored legislation that would begin to wean the middle-class away from job-based coverage and replace Medicaid with private insurance for most low-income people.

Their plan would make employer coverage taxable to the employee, but that would be offset with a tax credit. It could be used to buy coverage individually or to keep a plan at work. Some people with generous employer coverage could face higher taxes under the Republicans.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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8 Responses to "Republicans unsure on how they will change Obamacare"

  1. Tom_Beebe  September 19, 2010 at 11:38 am

    The start to health care reform is the ending of tax deductions for company sponsered programs. At least two reasons come to mind: 1) Increasingly the workforce in more mobile, moving from job to job, making life-long benefits such as company sponsored health insurance cumbersom. We’ve come up with “fixes” like COBRA. Better still, let’s recognize that staying with one employer for lifetime is less and less the norm. 2) It is not equal justice for all that part of the cost of insurance for some, those employees, is offset by reduced taxes while others, not covered by employer-furnished plans receive no such break. Tere is a fiction that groups can get better rates than individuals. This leads to some of the ideas (cooperatives, etc) in ObamaCare. The problem is that ObamaCare is not voluntary, it is a government mandate. The government has long been in health care insurance through tax policy. Rather than get it in deeper, get it out. To help individuals better afford health care, exempt from taxes any health care expenditre, including insurance premiums. There, GOP, is your way. Take Ryans plan even further!

  2. Carl Nemo  September 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Rest assured these globalist shills we have in Congress will not replace Obamacare, but will modify it so its even more so draconian and corporate friendly than it is now. We’ll end up with “expanded” O-care even prior to its initiation.

    This 2000 page plus boondoggle needs to be repealed with no tinkering whatsoever with the basic law. It’s simply bad law with little to no merit concerning the providing health care at affordable prices to everyone.

    From the beginning it was a creation to benefit corporate health care providers and “Big Pharma” with little emphasis on doing what needs to be done. Also it’s loaded to the gunnels with regional pork; ie., exemptions and enhancements that other areas of the country will not enjoy. It’s a piece of “garbage legislation” hatched by the same class of legislators.

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Tom_Beebe  September 19, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    What needs repealing is the tax deduction to employers for providing health care insurance. Why? Two reasons (at least). 1.. It is discriminatory against independently employed whose cost of insurance is higher. 2. It is based on the old days when a job was a lifetime thing, no longer relevant in today’s more mobile job market. Start reform by eliminating that. Do groups get a better deal on insurance? Maybe, or if the tax break was repealed, maybe not. But let’s put everybody on an equal footing. “No pre-condition consideration” ? I would hope my car insurer doesn’t throw me in the same class as some kid with ten accidents or some guy with six DUI’s. Of course insurance premiums should be higher for higher risks. But if from all these issues we take away two things, may it be that insurance be individual, and voluntary. Those who choose to do without will be a burden on the rest of us, but let them also live with inferior health care…. their chooice.

  4. Guardhouse lawyer  September 19, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    More and more of the Mad Hatter. To overturn any of that legislation they would need a two-thirds majority in both houses because Obama will simply veto any legislation that tries to dismantle his signature program. What are these people smoking?

  5. Pondering It All  September 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    No, the closest thing to a viable Republican HCR proposal is Romney’s state plan that has actually been running for a couple of years. Of course, Obama-Care is almost identical to Romney-Care right down to the individual mandate (also a Republican idea). If the current HCR bill had just been proposed and passed by the Republicans, they would love it.

    So all they really need to do is pass a bill to rename it. I suggest “The Ronald Reagan Health Care Reform Bill”. That should do it.

  6. dvl666  September 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Ditto Obamacare is Romneycare. Since the only tactic the LimGOPbaugh had was todestroy Obama they effectively voted against their own ideas. As always in America once Milt becomes Prez he can simply give us all Romneycare and the GOP will lap it up. Only Nixon could make us buds with China, only Reagan could give us an Education Cabinet, only W could expand Medicare and Education. Only Regan could give us the highest TAX increase outside of WWII and raise taxes 6 times. Republicans are always against “BIG GOV” unless of course they’re “FOR IT” Hypocrisy is their MO and SOP.

  7. woody188  September 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group, Cigna Corp., Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. posted combined profits of $12.2 billion, a 56% increase over calendar year 2008

    Seems like if we take the profit out of health insurance, that might be a better start than any other plan.

    In the past 25 years, Medicare spending has grown from $52.6 billion in FY 1983 to an estimated $396.3 billion in FY 2008, a 7.5 fold increase. Currently, Medicare spending consumes 16 cents of every Federal dollar spent, and is third only to Social Security and defense spending. In FY 2009, funding for total Medicare spending, which will help 45.5 million Americans, is expected to be nearly $425.5 billion, an increase of $29.2 billion over the previous year. HHS

    There is the other beast that needs slayed.

    I just had a CT scan in March that ran over $4,000. Average cost was supposed to be around $2000. So there is the last beast, rampant increases for few apparent reasons. I think I’ll start offering cash at the desk and see if prices decrease. It works at some gas stations. :)

    • Carl Nemo  September 20, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      Thanks Woody188 for your informed posts that are always supported by linked data.

      I have great respect for your opinions, as well as it is a reflection of your core persona concerning issues of the day. : )

      Carl Nemo **==

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