Investor’s Business Daily
July 13, 2012
Health Reform: President Obama and his media toadies scoffed at House Republicans’ vote to repeal ObamaCare, demanding, “Where’s their plan?” It’s already written into legislation.
As a matter of fact, Republicans have introduced several bills that address all the problems with the health system — including covering the uninsured and those with preexisting conditions — at far less cost to taxpayers and with far less bureaucracy than ObamaCare.
Yet former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked them all. And Obama refused to even meet with their authors.
One of them is Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas. A former obstetrician, he chairs the Congressional Health Care Caucus. In 2009, he tried to meet with the president and his staff to discuss his ideas. He even sent a formal request to the White House for a meeting.
“Several days later I received an indirect message that ‘Dr. Burgess will not be coming to the White House,'” he said in his 2011 book, “Doctor in the House.”
Here are some of the GOP health bills that have been killed:
• HR 4019: Limiting Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions in All Health Insurance Markets.
The legislation provides grants to states to create risk pools and reinsurance that would have a shared federal, state and private sector contribution for patients who required coverage for pre-existing conditions. Price tag: $25 billion, which is nowhere near the $2 trillion cost of ObamaCare.
• HR 3218: Improving Health Care for All Americans Act.
The bill offers refundable tax credits for individuals equal to the amount they paid toward health insurance premiums and any out-of-pocket medical care costs for the entire year (with a cap of $2,500 if filing individually or $5,000 if filing jointly).
The bill, authored by Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., also lets self-employed individuals enjoy the benefits of group health policies offered through their churches, charities or other organizations.
Shadegg’s bill, which runs a mere 24 pages versus the 2,572-page ObamaCare law, also proposes the federal government match 50 cents for every dollar that individual states lay out to create and fund high-risk insurance pools. The risk pools can be customized for a variety of chronic illnesses and provide benefits specific to them.
• HR 896: The Medical Justice Act.
Authored by Burgess, the bill would bring Texas-style tort reform to the entire medical system.
In short, it would limit the noneconomic damages that a plaintiff could recover. “Doing so would go a long way toward diminishing the need for physicians to practice defensive medicine due to the fear of being second-guessed by trial lawyers,” Burgess says.
Defensive medicine includes ordering MRIs and other costly diagnostic tests that are often unnecessary and drive medical inflation.
• HR 2355: Health Care Choice Act.
The bill would make it possible for patients to shop for health insurance plans across state lines and also “own” their own policy. Such portability would mean more choices and lower costs for consumers.
Still, Obama is quick to point out, Republicans have no plan guaranteeing universal health coverage. Well guess what? Neither does he. The Supreme Court ruled he can’t force states to go along with his Medicaid expansion, and many have announced they will not.
As even the New York Times noted, this leaves “a huge question mark over the law’s mechanism for providing coverage to 17 million of the poorest people.”
Also, some governors have refused to create the insurance exchanges that Obama had hoped uninsured young people and the self-employed would join. And surveys show many small businesses plan to actually drop employees from their coverage to avoid paying the higher costs of ObamaCare’s expanded benefits mandates.
In lieu of the disastrous ObamaCare, Republican health-reform bills are all queued up and ready.