GOP Plans To Release Alternative to Reform Law After Court Ruling
House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) on Wednesday said that the GOP will release an alternative to the federal health reform law after the Supreme Court rules on the law's constitutionality, Politico reports (Haberkorn, Politico, 1/25).
Republicans last year unsuccessfully attempted to repeal the reform law, as well as some of its individual provisions (California Healthline, 1/20).
However, the "replace" portion of their "repeal and replace" strategy never came to fruition (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/25).
Details of GOP Plan
Pitts said, "We will be ready to respond to the Supreme Court decision, which is expected in June, with a replacement package."
He said the plan likely will include various proposals long supported by Republicans, such as:
- Giving tax breaks for health insurance to workers instead of employers;
- Limiting medical malpractice suits;
- Allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines (Politico, 1/25); and
- Creating state-based high-risk pools funded by the government instead of requiring private insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/25).
Pitts said, "There are others we will be discussing and will have ready in response to the Supreme Court decision," adding, "We think that a free-market alternative is much better as far as making health insurance affordable and available to everyone."
He noted that the plan would have to be crafted according to how the court rules. Pitts said he believes that the court might strike down the individual mandate but uphold the rest of the law (Politico, 1/25).
Win/Win Situation for GOP
According to "Healthwatch," Republicans can use the plan as part of their strategy for the 2012 election regardless of the court's ruling.
If the Supreme Court strikes down the law or certain provisions, Republicans will have a replacement. If the court upholds the entire law, Republicans still can capitalize on the renewed attention on health reform the ruling creates and present a concrete alternative to voters ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.