Health Care Reform Update: The House Republican Do-Nothing Plan

Care Reform Update: The House Republican Do-Nothing Plan

imageby Alta Price, M.D.

To prepare our readers for the big health care summit to be hosted by the White House February 25, last week I covered one of the most common Republican proposals to deal with Medicare. Under their proposal seniors would get a voucher and use it to purchase private insurance.

Today we’ll talk about a plan proposed by the House Republicans last November as an alternative to the bill the House Democrats actually passed. Ezra Klein at the Washington Post wrote an entertaining article about it – “Congressional Budget Office Thrashes Republican Health-Care Plan”.

The Republican proposal was scored by the Congressional Budget Office. I just have to quote Ezra Klein here:

CBO begins with the baseline estimate that 17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won't have health-care insurance in 2010. In 2019, after 10 years of the Republican plan, CBO estimates that …17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won't have health-care insurance. The Republican alternative will have helped 3 million people secure coverage, which is barely keeping up with population growth. Compare that to the Democratic bill, which covers 36 million more people and cuts the uninsured population to 4 percent.

Of course, Republicans don’t care about covering the uninsured, so they probably don’t see anything wrong with this do-nothing approach. But they surely do carry on about deficits, don’t they? So obviously their do-nothing plan must be cheap, right? Again from Klein:

According to CBO, the GOP's alternative will shave $68 billion off the deficit in the next 10 years. The Democrats, CBO says, will slice $104 billion off the deficit.

To be fair, under the Republican plan some people would see their premiums decrease. Unfortunately, their cheap insurance will be junk insurance, and if they get sick they will be stuck with huge medical bills. You see the Republican plan allows insurers to set up shop in states with the least regulation and sell their bad insurance to residents of states that had better protection for consumers.

Unfortunately the Republican plan allows insurers to keep discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, so less healthy people would have much higher premiums under the Republican proposal. But Republicans aren’t any more concerned about the sick than they are the uninsured.

To read more about the House Republican Proposal check out this article in The New Republic by Jonathan Cohn – “GOP Health Care Plan: Even Worse Than You Are Hearing.” To read more about how House Minority Leader John Boehner is lying about this plan currently, visit Media Matters.

Correction: I want to thank an anonymous poster who pointed out an error in my last post. I said the Medicare Part D bill was passed under reconciliation. Actually, it was passed by a simple majority, an up-or-down vote. I personally thought the Democrats should have filibustered it, but unlike the Republicans, the Democrats make sparse use of the filibuster when they are in the minority. It was the Bush tax cuts were passed under reconciliation. I apologize for the error.

Price is a physician practicing Pathology in Davenport, Iowa. One of
the original Deaniacs, she stays involved with Democracy for America,
Iowa, and the Quad Cities. She advocates for quality, affordable health
care for all, primarily as a volunteer with Progressive Action for the
Common Good
(Health Care Reform Issue Forum).
  Watch for Dr. Price's Health Care Reform Update every Tuesday here on Blog for Iowa.  E-Mail Alta Price

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