There may be a new Republican health care plan floating around. It's just about the same as all the other half dozen we've seen. It's a redux of John McCain's defeated health care plan, and it's mostly about taxes or other forms of government money, not health care, which is all Republicans seem to be concerned about.
The Republican proposal would extend the income tax deduction on health care premiums to those who purchase coverage in the individual market.
In the Republican plan, low-income consumers would also be eligible for advanceable, refundable tax credits, provided on a sliding scale, to purchase coverage in the individual market.
To promote the employer-based health insurance system, the Republican plan proposes giving small businesses tax incentives for auto-enrolling employees in a plan.
Republicans are also proposing to expand the individual market by creating pooling mechanisms such as association health plans and individual membership accounts. Consumers would also be able to shop for insurance across state lines.
The Republican plan also proposes reforming Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by giving beneficiaries the option of getting a voucher to purchase private insurance.
The Republican health care proposal would require that none of the suggestions from the Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research be finalized unless done in consultation with and approved by medical specialty societies. It would also establish performance-based quality measures endorsed by the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (PCPI) and physician specialty organizations.
The Republican plan also addresses the issue of medical liabilities that doctors face — something Democrats have not addressed. It would establish in each state administrative health care tribunals, also known as health courts, and add affirmative defense through provider established best practice measures. It would encourage the speedy resolution of claims and caps non-economic damages.
Let's see here…
- Tax credits that don't add up? John McCain's plan.
- Cutting Medicaid and SCHIP? John McCain's plan.
- Insurance across state lines, blowing past consumer protections? John McCain's plan.
- Not outlawing denial for pre-existing conditions? John McCain's plan.
- Tort reform? John McCain's plan.
The country voted on John McCain's health care plan. They didn't want it. It's good to see that Republicans still have no new ideas.
A note on comparative effectiveness research. The House bill currently up for discussion takes great pains to make sure research on treatments would not be used to mandate treatments. On page 524 of the House bill it specifically states "Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the Commission or the Center to mandate coverage, reimbursement, or other policies for any public or private payer.’’
So the grandstanding by Republicans that the House bill would ration care, and thus we need this Republican alternative, is utterly untrue.
There you have it. Another failed, do-nothing idea from Republicans, which talks a lot about taxes, but does nothing to end the health care status quo.