Monday, March 28, 2011

Republican Health Plan

If you follow media comments on health reform, you will find most major main-stream media commentators claim Republicans have no plan – no alternative to the current health reform bill.

The GOP has a plan, all right, but it does not fit the commentators’ concept of what health reform ought to be all about, viz., a “comprehensive,” centralized, regulation-rich plan that controls markets, physicians, and patients seeking choice.

The Republican plan may not fit Democratic one-size-fits-all belief in what a reform plan out to be, but it’s a plan.

The plan is called the Patients Choice Act, HR 2520, and its sponsors are Dr. Tom Coburn, the Republican Senator from Oklahoma, and Paul Ryan, the Republican Congressman from Wisconsin.

The problem with the plan, according to critics, is that it is too incremental. It does not guarantee coverage for all, set the stage for single-payer, and does not contain enough regulations to make businesses, health plans, doctors, and patients behave economically.

Therefore, it is not really a “plan." It is just a scheme to retain the status quo. It is not reform because it does not make Americans and markets conform.

In essence, the Republican plan is:

• Universal $2300 tax credits for all individuals and $5700 tax credits for families.

• Shopping for health plans across state lines.

• National malpractice reform.

The CBO says this plan would cut deficits by $68 billion and increase coverage by 36 million. Tort reform, the CBO adds, would reduce costs and premiums by $41 billion and increase revenues by $13 billion.

The CBO says it would soak the federal treasury $61 billion versus $1.05 trillion for the Democratic plan.

But no matter, say the commentators, health reform is not about cost. The GOP is not a plan because it does not assure federally-mandated coverage for all with equity and quality, managed by government experts. And it leaves uncounted millions uninsured, even if it gives universal tax credits for all.

All of this is true.

But it is a plan.

In closing,

When is a health reform plan not a plan?
When is a plan not just a flash in the pan?
Do not tax credits for all mean something?
Even to those sitting on the far left wing.

1 comment:

theexilesclan said...

Quite worthwhile info, thank you for the article.