Kaiser Health News reported Wednesday that a plan unveiled by House Republicans that would repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordability Act, better known as Obamacare, constitutes a hodgepodge of “every idea on health care proposed by Republicans going back at least two decades.”
The 37-page white paper, called “A Better Way,” is remarkable for dredging up ideas like “high risk pools” for people with very high medical expenses, end open-ended funding for the Medicaid program and encourage small businesses to band together to get better bargaining power in “Association Health Plans,” KHN reported.
Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, who does double duty as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, authored a similar document on budgeting called “Pathway to Prosperity” that, like the GOP report plan out today, offers broad framework language that might sound good to some because it relies on the magic of the marketplace to reduce program costs by increasing competition.
Offering his take on the plan, long-time central Ohio congressman Pat Tiberi issued this statement on the GOP plan. “We know that Obamacare is broken and deeply flawed. Every day I hear from Ohioans who are paying higher premiums, losing coverage and paying more for less quality care. Families, healthcare providers, seniors and businesses deserve a better way and a new approach. That is what we are proposing today.
Where’s The Beef?
Mr. Tiberi didn’t bring it up, but KHN did. “What the plan does not include, however, is any idea of how much it would cost, or how it would be financed.” For all the GOP deficit hawks, including Congressmen Tiberi and Ryan, it’s difficult to take any plan seriously that totally ignores two big, important parts like cost and method of payment. Meanwhile, other plan parts remain unclear, according to KHN, which asked, “how many of the 20 million Americans who have gained coverage since the law took effect would be able to remain insured?”
Mr. Tiberi, whose name has been floated as a candidate who might take on Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown in 2018, says the plan’s goal is to “increase choices, reduce costs and provide more flexibility to patients to address their healthcare needs no matter their circumstances or income.” A free-market and innovative approach to deliver affordable and portable care while also adopting bipartisan reforms to put Medicare on a sustainable path are what Mr. Tiberi says is the secret sauce in the plan.
Same Old Song
In his weekly call with Ohio media Wednesday, Ohio’s senior senator in Washington said he’s heard it all before. “It’s the same old song,” Sen. Sherrod Brown said today from his office in Washington. Sen. Brown, a strong voice for the ACA, said the nation’s healthcare law is working, pointing to 600,000 Ohioans who now have insurance who didn’t have it before the bill passed in early 2011.
Mr. Brown, who won convincingly in 2006 and again six years later, said the ACA has helped young people and seniors with drug costs. He noted for reporters that but for Obamacare, Americans would be paying billions more for healthcare. Sen. Brown said the GOP’s plan is nothing new, just the same talking points.
“The ACA is working, we know its working. Repealing [it] makes no sense for Ohio,” said Sen. Brown, whose name is among those Hillary Clinton should pick for vice president.