Republicans unveil healthcare reform alternative amid threats of government shutdown

Fierce Healthcare reports:

“The GOP this week unveiled an alternative plan to President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law amid a threat from a minority of Republicans to defund the law before the Oct. 1 implementation date and shutdown the government.

The bill–Republican Study Committee’s American Health Care Reform Act–which calls for a full repeal of the healthcare reform law “dramatically opens up options for families, and dramatically lowers costs” compared to Obama’s law, committee chairman Louisiana Rep. Steven Scalise told The Daily Caller.

The bill would provide $20,000 in tax deductions to families and a $7,500 deduction to individuals, so they can buy insurance from vendors in any state. It also proposes Americans keep the money they save by picking lower-cost providers, according to the article.

The alternative plan also creates a 10-year, $25 billion fund to lower costs for Americans afflicted with pre-existing conditions such as cancer. It also allows consumers to carry their insurance from job to job.

But in a column for policymic, writer John Giokaris says the Republic plan is too little and too late. “In short, while it has a lot of great ideas from family tax credits to more consumer control to desperately needed tort reform (i.e., frivolous medical malpractice lawsuit reform), it could still use more free market solutions from knocking down state borders for families to shop for insurance plans anywhere in the U.S. (as you can with any other kind of insurance) to scaling back unnecessary FDA regulations that inflate the costs of prescription drugs. But it’s a start,” he wrote.

The bigger question, Giokaris asked, is why didn’t the Republicans reveal the alternative plan during the 2012 election? “That was arguably the last legitimate opportunity for them to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something better,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports House Republicans intend to push forward with plans to tie ongoing operations of the government to their demand to delay the healthcare reform law. The action, the article stated, will set up a direct challenge to President Obama and the Senate that could result in a government shutdown.

Despite the fact that both sides claim they want to avoid a shutdown, neither side appears willing to back down. According to the Times, the House plans to pass a short-term spending deal this week to keep the government open but at the same time block funding for the Affordable Care Act. The House will then tie a one-year debt limit increase to a specific one-year delay of the reform law.

But the president said those terms amounted to political extortion, the Times reported, and he won’t negotiate on his healthcare law or engage in a deal that puts the country’s debt limit at stake.”