The message seems to be getting through to some of the Republican leadership that they need to show their cards if they want a place at the game table.
“It’s time to start over on a common-sense, bipartisan plan focused on lowering the cost of health care while improving quality. That’s what I heard over the past several months in talking to thousands of my constituents. Replacing your family’s current health care with government-run health care is not the answer. We can do better, with a targeted approach that tackles the biggest problems.”
– Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr. , R-MD, September 9, 2009
In a recent news article, John Boehner, R-Ohio, pointed out that Republicans do have ideas on health care reform and pointed folks to healthcare.gop.gov to learn more.
There are supposedly 35 different Republican plans listed on the GOP website.
Taking some time to wander through them my conclusion is that none of these approximate a “plan”. There are indeed many good ideas. Many.
There is not a lot of evidence however that thought has been put into how these ideas would be implemented, or how viable many of these ideas would be. For example, there are no examples or business cases presented. And almost all of the presented plans begin with an attack on Obamacare, which makes suspect the rationale behind the individual presented plan, which is usually a list of ideas — albeit many good ideas.
If House Republicans want to show sincerity in moving their ideas forward then they need to present one GOP leadership-blessed plan signed by a majority of their members.
HR 3400 claims to be a major Republican proposal to do this. HR 3400 is the Republican-sponsored ‘Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2009‘ AKA ‘Empowering Patients First Act‘ put forth by Rep. Tom Price, R-GA, with 38 cosponsors.
HR 3400 is a bit of a Johnny-come-late effort as it was just introduced on July 30th, with Congress going into recess until early September and the Congress normally resolving bills making it successfully out of committee by September 15th; and HR 3400 has not even been considered by the committee as of September 11th.
In the world of federal lawmaking and moving bills through Congress, HR 3400 should have been introduced in the early Spring.
This bill would be dead on arrival even should it be considered. Its primary offer of assistance to those needing health coverage is an end-of-year tax credit of $2,000 for an individual and $4,000 for a married couple. There is a provision to allow some prepayment of this credit … but since a healthcare policy for a family averages just over $1,100/month then this is not yet a mature plan, despite offering many ideas and mechanisms worthy of consideration.
If the Republicans really believed in HR 3400 then we would see it being advertised on TV and in other media as ‘an alternative you can believe in’. Since the Republicans aren’t pushing this bill to either you or to me, it was introduced on July 30th for a reason: to say that the Republicans had a plan knowing full well that they didn’t have to worry about living with the results of their own plan.
Democrats still have control of the ball.
— FoxNews, Republicans to Obama: Here Are Our Health Plans, 2009.09.10, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/09/10/republicans-obama-heres-health-plans/
— GOP House Health Care Reform website, http://www.gop.gov/solutions/healthcare
— GovTrack.us, HR 3400 Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2009, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-3400